Callum Keating's life-changing decision to join an apprenticeship

Ckeating_croppedAs an 18 year old, I understand the life-changing decisions that school leavers face. That’s why I want to give an insight into what it’s really like to make the jump from school to the world of work. Here’s the story of my first few exciting months as a Deloitte apprentice.

Unclear about my future
At first I was very sceptical about my future. The majority of my friends were applying for University, attending open days, and anticipating an exciting three years in a completely new environment. But something didn’t feel right for me; my gut instinct stopped me from applying. If you feel University isn’t for you, it’s good to know that there are other fantastic opportunities that can lead to a successful career.

Why Deloitte?
Deloitte intrigued me. Having spoken to people who’d worked at the firm for a while, it was clear that the opportunities here were endless. And I just knew that applying (and hopefully being accepted) would go on to be the best thing I ever did. The recruitment process was challenging, but definitely enjoyable. We were able to speak to the previous intake of apprentices during the assessment day, which helped ease my nerves and gave me some pointers for the interview. Not only was the whole assessment day really well organised, but the communication prior to the day itself was really calming.

A positive start
From the outset, I’ve felt trusted and treated like an adult. For example, we were all invited to a 3-day induction away from home, in Liverpool. This was a great opportunity to get to know each other and build a strong bond before entering the office environment. And it was a perfect way to start the 12-month apprenticeship.

Easing in to our first week
There’s no need to worry about being thrown straight in the deep end. Although the work is challenging, you’re eased into working full-time and taking on tasks by yourself. We were given a group project to start with, which tested our team work and initiative – two very important skills for every successful Deloitte employee. For some, the dress code can be a worry, but you can wear anything ‘Business Casual’, from shirt and trousers to a full suit.

Plenty of support
Every apprentice is supported by a mentor, throughout their apprenticeship. Your mentor can answer any questions you have, from general queries about a task to your future career prospects. You name it; they’ll find an answer to it. This has really helped me with my progression and has inspired me to become a mentor in the near future.
College work and the qualification

Part of the Entry-Level apprenticeship involves studying for a Level 3 Diploma in Business Administration. The course is very enjoyable and college lessons (once a fortnight) are relaxed, yet informative. Every other Tuesday, you are given time to revise, and I find this very beneficial.

I’ve never felt under pressure or unable to attain excellent college results. This is because we have great resources. We have full access to the college, including the library, which is stocked with course-related material. We’re given brand new tablets to access online revision material and contribute to our e-Portfolio. And we have dedicated time to study as a group – I found this a very effective revision tool.

Deloitte Apprentices28Varied work
I was unsure what to expect in terms of the workload, but I soon found out and adapted to the Engagement Support Centre’s system. You’re an assistant for certain engagement teams around the UK, but can end up completing tasks for colleagues all over the world.

If work coming in from your teams is minimal, you can ask the assigners for ad-hoc opportunities. This exposes you to a very wide range of tasks: anything from running reports to booking hotels. The variety is one of the main reasons I feel this apprenticeship is a great way to kick start your career.

Great networking
Expanding your network starts on your very first day – at induction. It was a bit like the TV show ‘The Apprentice’, as we were given a task to complete with people from all over the UK, who we’d never met before. This was really enjoyable and brought us Cardiff Apprentices even closer; they feel like friends I’ve had forever.

Since then, I’ve been asked to travel to London to assist with a new Excel system that analyses Budget to Actual Hours. This was an exciting opportunity for me, as I’d never travelled to London on my own before. And I got the chance to speak to lots of people and find out how the work varies from office to office. Opportunities like this don’t come around often for 18 year olds.

An amazing chance to make an impact
If you’re willing to work hard, and want to make an impact, this could well be for you. You don’t have to go to University; there are amazing alternative opportunities and the Deloitte Apprenticeships are definitely one of them.

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Posted on 10/04/2017 | 0 Comments

Lauren Hughes apprenticeship experience in Cardiff

What’s it like to join Deloitte as an apprentice?

 Lauren Hughes PhotoMy name’s Lauren and here’s my story.

I’m part of the 2016 Entry-level apprenticeship scheme, based in Cardiff. Although I’ve only been with the firm a short while, I’ve enjoyed every second of my time on the scheme.

I have met so many people since starting and gained so much knowledge, from colleagues, inductions and my college work.

Dyslexia didn’t hold me back
The apprenticeship recruitment process was pretty thorough, which meant it was long, but very rewarding. Because I have dyslexia, I didn’t really think I’d get through it; I really lacked confidence, so I was completely humbled when I was shortlisted. In total, eleven of us were successful. Now we’re all together on the apprenticeship, supporting each other, and we all get along well.

Getting to know each other
We spent the first three days of the apprenticeship on induction in Liverpool, with Deloitte apprentices from all over the UK. It was exciting to meet all these new people and get to know each other.

The programme was amazingly well prepared and choreographed, with a presenter who was brilliantly engaging. We were given tasks to complete in groups, with people we’d only just met, and we were never in the same group more than once. This meant we got to meet everyone and share ideas. My only regret is that we didn’t swap details; I’d really like to have stayed in contact and built relationships with colleagues across the country. If I had my time again…

London calling
Our final induction included an overnight stay in London. This was completely different to Liverpool, as we were left to our own devices. That meant navigating the tube, and the hotel lift… no really, you’d be surprised how long that took to work out!  But between the eleven of us, we finally got to our rooms.

Our office
Now we’ve settled in to work. And it’s such a friendly office. I know everyone on my floor and have already had many opportunities for extra responsibility and progression. It’s wonderful to feel part of something, to feel equal and in the same place as everyone else. We get on so well as a team.

Another bonus is – as well as free tea and coffee – we get free fruit, as they encourage healthy eating here. It’s a small thing that makes a big difference.

Cardiff Apprentice Group Pic_croppedWe’re studying hard too
As well as on-the-job experience, we work towards a Level 3 Diploma in Business Administration too. To pass the apprenticeship, we need to achieve 58 credits or more. So far, we’ve sat a 15-question exam on ‘employee rights and responsibilities’, which covered things like business laws and policies, as well as minimum wage and equality in the workplace.

Currently, we’re working towards ‘principles of business communication and information’. This includes different types of business documents, and good and bad practice involved. It’s all useful and interesting stuff.

My future opportunities
Once I’ve completed my apprenticeship, my options are open. I can stay here in Cardiff and continue to build on my knowledge and experience. Or I could apply to join the BrightStart Higher Apprenticeship scheme. Which means working towards becoming fully qualified in a professional field. I’ve decided I’d like to continue in the office, until I have enough knowledge and confidence to progress.

The Best Bits
My Deloitte apprenticeship so far has been a wonderful experience. I’ve already progressed, met so many people, and developed many skills. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s interested in developing and learning in a supportive environment. Even if you’re not confident, apply; you’ll find you’ve got more abilities than you might think. And it opens up so many opportunities.

Diolch am darllen :)

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Posted on 10/04/2017 | 0 Comments

Positive impact of agile working in our Newcastle office

Laura Harvey is a Professional Standards Review (PSR) manager in the Newcastle office. Since joining the firm in 2015 she has worked on a part-time basis and comes into the office only three days a week so that she can spend more time with her children. She flexes her work hours to arrive and leave an hour earlier than standard office hours, working from 8am to 4.30pm instead of 9am to 5.30pm.

Laura says, “The Deloitte agile working approach allows me to maximise the amount of quality time I get to spend with my two young children, whilst maintaining the career I worked so hard to achieve. I really do believe that I have the best of both worlds and a healthy balance that works for both me and my family. I think it’s incredibly innovative to recognise and appreciate that a ‘one size fits all’ contract could mean missing out on some of the best talent in the market and ultimately impact upon staff morale.”

Since its introduction in June 2014, agile working has proven to be one of the most popular and innovative ways in which Deloitte has shaped its culture. From informally flexing working hours to formally changing contracted work days and hours, agile working covers a broad spectrum of options and can be tailored to fit all kinds of lifestyles. It is a concrete example of Deloitte’s commitment to an agile and inclusive working environment that benefits both the firm and its employees.

Agile working is based on the three core principles of trust & respect, focus on output and open two-way communication.

Trust & respect

The approach nurtures a relationship of trust and respect between Deloitte and its employees. It gives employees the freedom to tailor their working arrangements so they can enjoy non-work commitments and priorities, but also ensure they’re delivering the quality output the firm expects of them. Deloitte recognises that employees who feel trusted to manage their work deliverables flexibly are more inclined to perform at their best in the workplace.

Agile working allows flexibility and even reduced hours, but this is not driven by a lack of commitment or interest in the job. Before adopting an agile working arrangement, staff must carefully consider the impact of their proposed work arrangements on their respective teams and on their job performance.

Laura is of course not the only employee to grasp the opportunities afforded by agile working:

Carey Stuart from the Newcastle office works two full days a week in the office and two mornings at home to fit in with her children’s school and pre-school hours. She enjoys being able to do the school runs three days a week, to still have some quality time with her family, while enjoying the challenges and stimulation that work provides.

“For me, our agile working approach is key to ensuring we’re retaining a very talented and dedicated pool of people that, for one reason or another, don’t want to (or can’t) have the working hours of a full time role. The reduction in hours does not show less dedication to your job. It’s purely that you are sharing that dedication with another part of your life right now. Being able to maintain the balance of work life and home life, and not prioritising one over the other, is extremely valuable and I feel very fortunate that I’ve found a role at Deloitte that allows me to do that,” says Carey, a PSR senior manager.

Focus on output

Deloitte holds the view that performance should be based on the quality of work and not on the number of hours spent in the office. Although everyone has a contracted workplace, there is an option to work from any Deloitte office, from a client site, from home or even at a public location as long as this does not cause any conflict with the firm’s privacy and security policies.

“Giving people the freedom of agile working doesn’t automatically mean that everyone disappears from the office. Being given this option means that, when I do need to work away from the office, there is no stress or worry attached to not being sat my desk. I think our agile working culture also erodes the negative impact that presenteeism can have: lots of us aren’t at our desk all hours of the day and it is recognised that our teams can be equally or more productive when working in an agile way. What this has meant for me this year, during my wife’s pregnancy, is that I have been able to attend whatever medical appointments she had and make up for the time I missed later in the day” shares David Robinson, a PSR manager in Newcastle.

While agile working has helped a lot of working parents within the firm, the option is not limited to them. It is open to all employees who wish to achieve a good balance between their work and personal commitments.

Taisheen Anver Khan, a PSR manager from the London office, appreciated how agile working was beneficial during Ramadan: “Agile working was helpful, as my sleeping and eating patterns varied from normal.”

Open two-way communication

Having open two-way communication is key to making agile working a success. The firm encourages employees to discuss proposed changes in working arrangements openly with their manager to achieve a solution that works for everyone. Formal changes have trial periods and working arrangements are continuously under review to ensure the arrangement is working for all parties.

Suzanne Green, a Newcastle PSR manager, says “Agile working was a key factor in choosing my current job. At the moment I can easily flex my hours to fit in everything from fitness classes to visiting my family who live over 200 miles away, by keeping my team at work informed about my schedule.”

Over the two and a half years that agile working has been in place, early indications are that it has had a measurable positive impact on employee engagement. The firm is continuing to monitor the effectiveness of its flexible working strategy and is committed to improving the experience for all its people.

Read more of our agile working stories here.

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Posted on 26/01/2017 | 0 Comments

Rob Young, winner of 2015-16 CAVC Apprenticeship Award

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It was a proud night for our colleagues in Wales as one of their apprentices took home the Apprentice Award.


Rob Young joined Deloitte in September 2015 as part of the newly created Cardiff Apprenticeship programme. Our partnership with Cardiff & Vale College (CAVC) allows us to offer on-the-job business administration experience to people across the region. Rob joined the Tax GES Centre of Excellence Team in Cardiff on a 12-month apprenticeship.


Red carpet moment


Fast forward 12 months: Rob was chosen from CAVC learners across all curriculum areas for his outstanding achievements in the year, and took home the Apprenticeship Award for the 2015-16 academic year. Congratulations!


What’s next? Rob successfully applied to the Audit BrightStart programme which started in September 2016. It combines on-the-job learning with study towards a professional qualification, and comes with a salary and benefits too.


Good to know

We know that a traditional university degree is not right for everyone. If you know someone that would rather get a head start in their career and start earning while they learn, BrightStart may well be a better option – find out more.

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Posted on 01/11/2016 | 0 Comments

Test your problem solving skills: Forensic Technology Challenge #4

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Paying homage to our fondness of brain-teasers, every month we post a new challenge created by the Forensic Technology team, focusing on logical, analytical and coding problems.


Analysing data for patterns/trends is an important part of what we do in Forensic Technology. With this in mind we have returned to our programming roots for this month’s challenge. Can you write a script to solve the below…?


i) What are the factors of 379065191139531?

ii) What connects 35432488 with these numbers: 806095675586097, 7405814774826 and 379065191139531

We’ll be posting our Python based solution next month at which point we will bid you farewell for the year. We hope to be back next year with more puzzles but in a different format so make sure you keep an eye out for our return!

Enjoyed this? Check out our other Forensic Technology blog posts


If you are someone who enjoys problem-solving, logical thinking and technology, check out our Forensic Technology graduate professional roles to see if they are the right fit.

 

What's the answer?

For the final time this year we present our solution to the challenge we have set you:

i) Below is the code we used in Python 3.5 to calculate the factors of 379065191139531:

Image001

ii) As alluded to in part i) the first step to solving ii) is to get the factors of 806095675586097, 7405814774826 and 379065191139531. The next part is not so obvious. First we need the common factors of the 3 numbers we were just looking at. Then with some outside-the-box thinking we sum over these common factors to arrive at 35432488.

The code to do this is below:

Image002

We hope to be back next year bigger and better so keep a look out for future posts.

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Posted on 27/10/2016 | 0 Comments

Test your problem solving skills: Forensic Technology Challenge #3

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Paying homage to our fondness of brain-teasers, every month we post a new challenge created by the Forensic Technology team, focusing on logical, analytical and coding problems.


For this month’s challenge, we are heading over to Rio (figuratively) and getting into the spirit of the Paralympic games. Using the publicly available data for the last two Paralympics (Beijing and London), we want you to predict using a mathematical model how many gold medals ParalympicsGB will win in Rio.

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Posted on 14/09/2016 | 0 Comments

Reading’s BrightStart apprentices challenge local schools in essay writing competition

508373_Deloitte_BrightStartReading_BlogHeaderDeloitte team members from left to right: Ella Kemp (BrightStart), Andy Gardner (Summer Vacation Scheme Graduate), Katie Barrows (Scholar), Zoë Dexter (BrightStart), Victoria Elkins (BrightStart), Claire Siviter (Talent Director – South Region) and Hugh Knudsen (Scholar).

Zoë is a BrightStart Apprentice working in our Reading office. Zoë identified that when giving careers advice, her school placed a lot of emphasis on traditional university routes and lacked awareness of alternative pathways. To try and remedy this, she proposed the idea of an essay competition, designed to challenge local students to consider a wider range of school leaver opportunities. A small team, led by two of our BrightStart apprentices, pulled together to make this happen. We caught up with Zoë to find out more...

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Posted on 25/08/2016 | 0 Comments

Test your problem solving skills: Forensic Technology Challenge #2

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Paying homage to our fondness of brain-teasers, every month we post a new challenge created by the Forensic Technology team, focusing on logical, analytical and coding problems.


For this month’s challenge you need to put your spy hat on and decrypt a message.

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Posted on 09/08/2016 | 4 Comments

Golden opportunity for Impact Award winners

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On Saturday 16 July the winning four teams from the Impact Awards were given an opportunity to see-off the ParalympicsGB athletes in style at the Deloitte sponsored Team Launch. The Impact Awards celebrates employees that make an impact that matters—for clients, for our people, and for society.

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Posted on 08/08/2016 | 0 Comments

Forensic Technology Challenge – Bonus Question

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Already solved the #4TechChallenge for this month? Here’s a bonus question to keep your mind in challenge mode:

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Posted on 15/07/2016 | 2 Comments