School Leavers in Deloitte careers blog
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As 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.
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.
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.
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.
What’s it like to join Deloitte as an apprentice?
My 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.
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…
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.
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.
We’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 :)
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.
Deloitte 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...
Ross Flanigan, Director, tells us why he is a big advocate of our Cardiff Apprenticeship scheme.
Just a few months ago, after many more months of effort and planning and interviewing, I was so pleased to see the first group of ten Business Administration apprentices join our teams.
The timing was great because they joined our business just as our training partner ‘Cardiff and Vale College’ opened their new and amazing city centre campus. We were all finding our way with this first group. The idea of apprentices was new to us, the college was building credentials, and the apprentices, well, they just had the small matter of setting out on their careers to think about.
Would it work? We didn’t know!! But I’ve got to say, it has been an exceptional success so far, and that’s mainly down to the apprentices themselves. Yes our Firm, our managers and the mentors have really made an effort. Yes, the college has pulled out all the stops. But we have been really amazed by the attitude, ability and commitment of the apprentices who are working in five different parts of our business.
They have no preconceptions and no fear. They’ve shown that when (with just a little trepidation) we put them in for a free chat with our CEO along with the Wales First Minister and his entourage.
So they’ve picked up the work, they’re volunteering for more, they are looking for their next career step with us, they are passing the academic bits and they are even helping more recent recruits settle in. I think the term used is ‘exceeding expectations’.
As it’s all going so well, we had a chance to bring everyone in the programme together for a low-key celebration just recently when apprentices, managers, mentors and our friends from the college had dinner together at the incredible rooftop restaurant ‘The Classroom’ in the new college campus. That restaurant is a candidate for best in the city if you ask me. But why ask me? A little apprentice-type blogging will probably say much more.
Brandon Edwards, KYC Analyst in Forensic, Financial Advisory, went along to the dinner. Check out his account of the evening here:
“The food was exquisite, staff delivered a first class service and the atmosphere was very relaxed. Thanks to this event, I was able to network with people that I had never met before as well as build up stronger relationships with people that I vaguely knew.
Every person that I met, no matter how high up in the company, was very welcoming, forthcoming and available for me to talk to if I had questions to ask on any topic at all. I made great personal connections with many different people who I’m pleased to say have now become friends.
I am very grateful to be involved in this event and hope that there are more events to come which will enable me to get more involved and meet more great people.”
For those of you who don’t know the meaning of the finger point, it means that Deloitte are number one!
You may have noticed that non-graduate entry opportunities is a big priority for us. Talent is at the heart of our core values, no matter where it comes from or what shape it takes.
This is why we decided to celebrate our existing BrightStart apprentices in an evening hosted by David Sproul our CEO and Emma Codd our managing partner for Talent.
We kicked things off with David Sproul welcoming us all and giving a brief overview of the strategy and the doors it can open for our people: Deloitte as the place were our apprentices can push the boundaries of discovery and exploration and where unsolvable problems are solved for the wellbeing of clients, people and society.
That is when the stars of the show took the stage! Tom Elsey and Angharad Old, two BrightStarts, shared their journey so far and proudest moments.
Emma Codd then spoke about the future of the programme and the plan to double the number of apprentices in the firm by September 2016.
Our Head of Professional Education & Apprenticeships, Honey Clarke, also spoke about all the people in the firm that want to support apprentices, get involved and become a BrightStart Ambassador.
We rounded the evening off with Honey being joined by Emma, Gordon McFarland and Alex Sinclair for a panel session in which they took questions from the audience, before celebrations continued over drinks.
The BrightStart scheme is the firm’s non graduate entry route into most of our professions, from audit to consultancy; a route that started in 2011 with a small number of school leavers joining Audit and Tax in London and the regions. Numbers have slowly grown to include all our career paths and, in September 2015, we saw 115 BrightStarts join Deloitte, including the delivery centre in Belfast, taking us to a total of 300.
If you or someone you know might be interested in becoming a BrightStart and gaining up to a degree-equivalent professional qualification, the application for the 2016 intake is now open.
Visit or send them to our webpage to learn more.
To celebrate some of the UK’s top businesses employing thousands of apprentices across the country, and the launch of the Apprenticeship Delivery Board, the Prime Minster David Cameron hosted a reception at 10 Downing Street on Monday 18 January.
In attendance from our firm were Honey Clarke, Head of Professional Education and Apprenticeships, along with HR Director Caroline Hunt and two BrightStart Apprentices: Lauren Mays who joined Financial Advisory in September 2014 and Alex Sinclair who works in Technology Consulting, having joined Deloitte in 2012. Both sit on the BrightStart Committee and were involved in organising the recent BrightStart celebration event hosted by David Sproul and Emma Codd.
David Sproul said, “Improving social mobility is one of the UK’s biggest challenges. One of the ways in which we are seeking to address this is by doubling the number of positions available through our BrightStart Business Higher Apprenticeship Scheme.” For us, there is a clear business imperative to get this right. In order to provide the best possible service and make an impact with our clients, we need to hire people who think and innovate differently, come from a variety of backgrounds and bring a range of perspectives and experience into the firm”.
During the evening, the Deloitte group met with David Cameron and David Meller and Nadhim Zahawi, co-chairs of the new Apprenticeship Delivery Board and were able to tell them about the opportunities that come from joining the firm through the non-graduate entry route.
Lauren and Alex gave a brief account of their experience at the event:
On Monday 18 January we had the honour of attending an apprenticeship celebration reception at 10 Downing Street. After arriving and nearly bumping head first into George Osborne, we were ushered upstairs past the portraits of all the former Prime Ministers, to meet our fellow apprentices and their firms’ apprenticeships Champions.
Thanks to Deloitte being a market leader in apprenticeships, we were also invited in to the White Room for a private meeting with the Prime Minister and David Meller and Nadhim Zahawi, co-chairs of the Apprenticeship Delivery Board. The Prime Minister was interested to hear about our motivations for choosing an apprenticeship and our career progression so far. He was even so bold as to enquire what our salary progression looked like in comparison to our graduate colleagues!
After keynote speeches from Nadhim Zahawi and David Cameron, there was just enough time for the obligatory picture in front of the door to Number 10 before heading home to give a full account to our expectant parents.
Exam time can be a challenging period for a lot of students. Different students deal with it in different ways. We asked three of our BrightStart school leavers (Devon, Michael and Angharad) and one of our graduates (Nayema) how they got through it. Here’s a summary of what they said. Stand by for some invaluable tips!
Having been through exams yourself, what would be your best tips for someone who’s about to take them?
Start revising early. It gives you the chance to plan properly. It gives you time to spot gaps in your understanding and ask teachers or lecturers for help. It gives you the best possible chance of walking into the exam room feeling prepared and confident. It might be tempting to have fun now and revise later but the benefits of revising early are endless.
Practising past papers is also crucial. It’s no good memorising the entire syllabus if you can’t perform in a practical scenario. Practising papers under timed conditions will help you understand what the exam will be like on the day, and that’ll take some of the pressure off you.
Sounds cheesy, but DON’T PANIC!! A bit of pressure is good to motivate you to revise beforehand. But when it comes to the actual exam, you’re so much more likely to remember those little things you forgot to look over if your head is calm.
At Deloitte, how do you manage your time between work and revision?
Generally, work time is for work. And study happens around that, mostly at weekends. Waking up a little earlier at weekends and doing a couple of hours of solid revision really helps.
Deloitte’s study days are also brilliant. We’re allowed to take a number of days as study leave every year, so that’s a great way to take some time off just before exams to prepare.
What would be your three top tips for staying calm throughout the exam period?
- Don’t just revise. Make sure every day has some non-exam chill time. Go for a long walk. Watch a movie. Take up a hobby. Do anything that gives you some head space.
- Talk to people. As clichéd as it sounds, talking to other people who are doing the exams will help you realise that you’re not alone and that other people may be finding it hard too!
- Eat and sleep normally. As tempting as it is to stuff your cheeks with chocolate, drink copious amounts of Red Bull and stay up until 4am cramming as much into your brain as possible, the caffeine rush that keeps you awake isn’t going to last forever and will leave you exhausted and with a headache – not ideal exam conditions.
What would be your top tips when it comes to time management around exams?
It’s all about planning your weeks in advance. See which days you can realistically fit revision in and stick to that schedule. Also, give your phone to someone else while you’re revising. You might actually get some work done!
Don’t forget to take breaks. It’s best to work for an hour or so, then take a 10-15 minute rest. Also, don’t waste too much time going over topics you know well. It’s better to know 5 topics well than 3 topics excellently and 2 topics not very well.
Have you got any tips for university students in the final stages of completing their dissertations?
- Get as much advice from your mentor as possible. Make sure you arrange as many one-to-ones as you can.
- Get someone to properly proofread your work and double check that your structure is logical.
- Focus on having a strong first half, but an even stronger second half. People often concentrate on getting the beginning right, but the findings/conclusions can really make or break a good dissertation.
Work/life balance is important during exam time. What do you do to avoid getting too stressed?
Having a plan definitely helps. If things get intense, plan your weeks and then prioritise your daily tasks each morning.
Make sure you remember to take some time out. Exercise is great stress reliever. And even just spending a few hours reading a book or seeing friends can make a big difference.
Situated in the heart of Britain’s IT corridor, the Reading office presents fantastic opportunities for graduates interested in developing careers working with a truly diverse client base. Our people find themselves in a unique position where they are provided with the opportunity to work with a variety of companies ranging from the largest FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 brands to privately owned fast moving entrepreneurial business across all industry sectors. Our globally diverse client base provides our graduates with opportunities to coordinate with our other UK as well as global offices, thereby assisting their development as a 21st century professional.
The Reading office is the largest office outside London and has around 600 people working across all four of our service lines (Audit, Tax, Consulting and Corporate Finance). This means the opportunities to learn and grow are endless.
We encourage our people to work with their counterparts in other service lines right from the start of their career with us. We offer office-wide initiatives to promote networking to help develop business and professional skills vital to everybody’s success (which also leads to developing some lifelong friendships!).
New joiners can expect a wealth of support upon joining Deloitte. Every new joiner is paired with a ‘buddy’ who mentors and offers support in the initial weeks and months. There are regular training sessions and constant professional development is encouraged and delivered across the grades.
Aside from the fantastic professional development opportunities, Reading is at the forefront of leading our Corporate Social Responsibility projects. We have both formal and informal charity support arrangements in place. We encourage our people to actively participate in such opportunities and the firm allows each individual to spend 3.5 hours each month specifically on community investment projects. Our office often participates in “Community Investment” days – where the whole office spends a day with a number of different charities in the region doing things like painting, gardening and building – just giving something back to our local community. Our people also have the opportunity to participate in a number of nationally acclaimed charity events – be that the annual Paralympic “Ride Across Britain” event or climbing Kilimanjaro!
Given the unique size of our Reading office, each graduate is presented with the fantastic chance to gain greater exposure to senior members of teams and therefore enable them to interact and gain experience from them on a regular basis. As a firm we are supportive of agile working and our people are actively encouraged to take advantage of the flexibility the firm offers us
The Reading office is the ideal place of choice for anyone looking to explore differential opportunities within the Big 4. Our size and breadth means that we can offer an unparalleled opportunity to all of our people to professionally develop in a way that’s personal to them – allowing each individual to achieve their career and life aspirations.
Anita is the Partner leading the SE Executive Remuneration team and has been advising remuneration committees and companies on reward strategy, share and incentive scheme design, and developing tax efficient and commercially effective pay structures in the UK and many other jurisdictions for over 15 years.
Since joining Deloitte I have become aware of the prevalence of giving and receiving feedback and its importance. However, aside from being relevant to the formal appraisal process and promotion prospects why is feedback so pertinent?
First, it allows others to provide you with invaluable information about your performance, how you work with others, and how you can become better at what you do.
Second, whether it is positive or constructive, feedback triggers self-reflection and willingness to learn or change.
In Deloitte, feedback is given through a number of channels, both formal and informal. For example, feedback can be requested through an online performance management system or by email. Alternatively (and arguably more usefully) feedback can be gathered through ongoing informal chats where it is immediate, personal, and facilitates two-way communication.
You can and will get feedback from virtually anyone in the organisation, and even externally from clients. To prevent - or at least minimise - the rush of the year end process, I would recommend actively seeking out feedback over the course of the year, capturing everything whether it be an official feedback form, or a seemingly insignificant email from a client saying “great job – well presented”. This broad range of feedback from different viewpoints and perspectives will help to give you an overall picture of your strengths and weaknesses.
So far, I have been recognised for being proactive and managing my time well in challenging project situations. However, improvement points have also been raised including having a fuller understanding of my overall client project rather than just concentrating on the activities in my work stream. Taking this on board, I now actively go and speak to team members across the project team to ask questions and gain insights.
One of the most useful, and memorable pieces of feedback I received was actually delivered to me by a Partner during my final interview in the recruitment process. While he admitted that he was hesitant to bring it up, he pointed out that I quite often blush. Is this a bad thing? Not at all, but it is something to keep in mind as some may perceive it as a lack of confidence. Working in a client-facing role, you can begin to see its relevance. By highlighting this, I am now conscious of when it is happening and can work to keep what my manager calls ‘tomato mode’ to a minimum!
My top tips for feedback would be:
- Actively seek it out on an ongoing basis.
- Actually listen to and digest the feedback - ask questions or request examples if you don’t understand it.
- Put a plan and timescales in place to tap into strengths or work on development points identified.
- Ask your colleagues for support in implementing any changes identified.
- Finally, when delivering feedback, be honest (but sensitive), concentrate on the facts, and prepare what you want to say.
I hope something here is useful and helpful to you.