Tech degree students start fully-funded apprenticeships with PwC

PwC has signed up 111 students to a new fully-funded technology and data science degree programme, as part of an initiative to improve social mobility and attract more young people from a broader range of backgrounds into technology based careers at the Big Four firm

Designed in partnership with the Universities of Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, St Andrews and Queen's University Belfast, the initiative is one of the first and largest examples of the new level 6 degree apprenticeships in action.

Apprentices are PwC employees from day one. They earn a salary throughout the course which blends university life with practical work-based technology projects.  

Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner of PwC UK, said: ‘The students starting are a new wave of talent that will bring crucial skills, ideas and perspectives to UK business. We need to invest to create a vibrant tech sector right across the country and ensure those benefits are evenly spread.

‘The fourth industrial revolution is fundamentally changing the way we live and work. Rather than fearing these changes, we believe there is a huge opportunity to create new jobs and rebalance our economy and society. It is difficult to even predict where technology will be in five years' time, we need to ensure that we keep ahead of developments in technology.' 

PwC has 22,000 people in the UK and the average age is 28.

Ellis added: 'It is important to continue to attract the right people and we have changed our graduate recruitment process. Now the majority of graduates are hired outside of London - it was clear from talking to students that they did not want to work in London - it is too expensive and the decision to move the graduate programme outside London has been a success.'

Attracting a more diverse range of talent to the technology sector is a key objective of the programme, and 30% of the current cohort are women, almost double the national average of women studying computer science degrees.

Laura Hinton, chief people officer at PwC, said: ‘Technology apprenticeships are really key for us. There is rightly a lot of talk about the technology skills gap, the need to build those skills across the UK, and for more diversity in the sector. Our tech degrees are about taking action to make this happen.

‘They build on a number of steps we've taken including offering paid internships, extending our schools outreach, and our TechSheCan charter to increase the number of women in technology roles.’

Report by Pat Sweet, Sara White

Pat Sweet |Reporter, Accountancy Daily [2010-2021]

Pat Sweet was the former online reporter at Accountancy Daily and contributor to the monthly Accountancy magazine, pub...

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