School leavers are showing a heightened interest in entry level schemes with professional services company PwC, with the firm receiving over 2,300 applications for just 100 placements.
As A Level students await their results this week, interest in placements has risen to five times the levels PwC experienced before the recession hit 5 years ago.
PwC offer positions for school and college leavers who are looking for an alternative to university in assurance, tax and consulting practices, including the first Higher Apprenticeships in tax and consulting.
Starting in Autumn 2012, the A Level schemes have seen increased demand following a rise in university fees, and a highly competitive graduate jobs market.
PwC have experienced a 34% rise in applicants year on year, and a huge rise of 464% since 2008, whereas university applications have slipped by 7.7% in the last year.
Gaenor Bagley, PwC partner and Head of People, said: “There’s a generation of students weighing up their career and training options differently, whether because of university fees, economic forecasts or graduate unemployment, and employers have to adapt.
“We have recruited over 500 school and college leavers over the past ten years and this new framework further cements our commitment to widening access to the professions, while creating a nationally recognised industry qualification.
Overall, students are looking at their options in their teens, rather than waiting until their third year at university, and for an employer that’s good news.”
The regional chairman for PwC in the North East, Ian Green, said: ‘“We are clear that anyone with the right talent and transferable skills has the opportunity to succeed in our business.
PwC have not seen a total shift away from graduate interest however, and the company are increasing their internal ‘Academy’ for career-savvy first year university students to 300 places in the coming year.
The firm have run a degree programme at Newcastle University since 2002, and are this year expanding the course to run at the University of Reading starting this year.