I always knew I wanted to go into financial services. And while I was studying for my A-levels at Sixth Form College in Business, ICT and English Language, I also started to explore my career options. I used careers websites to see what options were available to me at this point in my education/career. That’s how I found out about PwC’s apprenticeship opportunities, which meant I could get a great job once I had my A-levels. I also used PwC’s website to really understand what the opportunities would lead to in the future. I still applied to university and thought I was going, until I got this job. So keep your options open, but university is far from the only way to be successful. Picking the right apprenticeship for you could be the best way to further your career.
Applying to PwC was quite simple. There were 4 stages in total. At each stage you needed to be successful to progress through to the next stage. Initially you need to make an online application. I’d recommend people take time to make theirs the best it can be, so that it really stands out. The next stage is a telephone interview. Do well, and you’ll be invited to an Assessment Centre. If you’re successful at this stage, you’ll then be invited to a final interview. It’s after this that you find out if you have the job.
I’m on the Tax apprenticeship programme with PwC. This means I’m studying towards the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT). Not only will I gain this qualification in 2 years time, but I’ll have the benefit of lots of work experience and have started to build my business network much earlier than most. Every day is different. I can be corresponding with clients, dealing with queries, attending briefings, analysing spreadsheets, running reports and working on projects for clients. It’s varied and that’s what I like about it.
I wanted to start my career so early, because I wanted to be paid a competitive salary, but still be fully supported in learning a professional qualification. This balance of starting work earlier, and earning a salary, but still learning and training towards a professional qualification, really works for me. It’s all invaluable when I compare it to getting a degree, and the routes I could have taken. And you don’t build up debt!
One of the challenges I’ve found in my job is being confident in saying no to things when I need to. I could very easily take on too much work. But I’ve found being honest about my work commitments, but still being ambitious and enthusiastic to work on varied and challenging projects is working for me. It’s a fine balance, but it’s something that is important to get right.
I’d recommend starting your career at this stage. It’s a great way of getting your foot in the door and a superb alternative to university. Everyone talks about the rising cost of going university, but for me even if university was free, I’d still have chosen what I’m doing now. I’m gaining a qualification at a top firm, while gaining experience in my day-to-day role.
I plan to work my way up to the top of the firm! I wouldn’t rule out even considering working for another company in the Financial Services sector either, as I’m sure they would love the fact that I have completed an apprenticeship with such a renowned organisation, and gained so much experience. We’ll see.