Shropshire teenager secures place on competitive finance apprenticeship

A Shropshire teenager has been selected for an apprenticeship at globally renowned Pricewaterhouse Cooper.

James Pearson
James Pearson

James Pearson, a pupil at Wrekin College, is among a growing number of ambitious teenagers who are choosing an alternative to the traditional university route.

It comes as a new survey revealed employers no longer see being a graduate as a top priority when recruiting new staff.

The 18-year-old said he had always wanted to work in finance taking accounting, economics, and business studies A levels, adding that he was keen to get a headstart in the workplace.

“I had considered university and of course, it is one of the options that everyone should consider but I wanted to be out there getting on with it in a real work environment," he said. "I felt I’d learn better on the job than in a classroom and I would be further ahead in my career than where I would be if I had chosen the uni route.”

James said the pandemic made teenagers think differently about the possible paths that were open to them after school.

“There was a lot of disruption during Covid and it makes you weigh up the different options," he said. "I didn’t feel that a traditional university journey would necessarily benefit my career in the long run but actual workplace experience in the next three to four years would.”

But while he opted for a different route the path to securing a place on the scheme was no less competitive.

“First of all, there were numerical and reasoning questions that I had to answer, followed by a personality test and an online interview," he said.

“After I passed the initial stages, I had an assessment day which was actually really interesting. We were given a website, like a day in the life type thing, which gave me a really good insight into what the job would actually be like.

“As part of that, emails would pop up that we had to deal with and we had data to interpret. We then had another interview and we also did a group project."

James has been offered a place at the Birmingham offices of the PwC on a four-year programme.

The share of vacancies that do not require applicants to have completed university rose 90 percent last year according to LinkedIn.

The social media platform said recruiters were five times more likely to seek recruits based on skills rather than qualifications.

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