Doing an apprenticeship doesn't mean missing out on university
Success stories Ndiwe, a Tax Associate and former Apprentice at PwC, speaks about her real work experience, on-the-job training alongside earning a salary, and avoiding student debt.
How did you come to work at PwC?
I joined straight from sixth form having studied History, English and Politics at A-Level. What attracted me was the fact that people come from all different walks of life and their experiences are so varied. Doing it this way meant that I got real work experience, on-the-job training alongside earning a salary, and avoiding student debt.
What is your role now?
I reconcile the tax positions of people who work internationally and advise clients on the tax implications of sending their employees abroad. I’ve only been working a year and it’s already very hands on. One of the misconceptions about apprenticeships is that you’re just photocopying and making tea, but from day one you receive technical training and get involved in real client work.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I really enjoy seeing the progress I’ve made. When I can apply my textbook knowledge to real-life scenarios, it gives me faith in my own ability and that the work I’m doing is paying off.
What wider opportunities has the job given you, and what’s the progression been like?
There is variety in your work to support your development. I can develop consulting and advice skills as well as having a strong technical base, opening up options later on in my career.
When you finish the school leavers programme you’re at the same level, if not more than a graduate who’s just entered; the on-the-job experience is really valuable.
Do you have any regrets about not going to university?
No regrets really as I think going to university is a very different experience. You still move away from home, gain independence and get to grow up.
What are the benefits of going from school to employment?
The life experience that you get. Coming straight from school, it gives you an idea of where you want to specialise or whether it’s actually for you. It gives you a more well-rounded view of working life.
What have you found most challenging during your time on the programme?
My biggest concern, before I joined, was that I would be missing out on the ‘uni experience’. However, as part of a cohort, you go through the whole programme with a ready-made peer group. Along with the regular socials, everyone feels included, regardless of level.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I want to stay in tax, but I would look at working abroad. I am currently considering working in Northern Africa on new enterprise. It’s such a global firm – they view their employees as assets, so internal mobility is made easy.
What would you say to someone thinking of doing work experience or doing one of the school leaver options?
What would you say to convince them to join?
Give it a go! It’s better to have loads of options and experience before you make a final decision. When you do then make that choice, you can safely say you’re fully informed.
We're one of the world's leading professional services organisations. We tackle lots of different issues for loads of different organisations, entrepreneurs and private businesses.
We help with big deals and big changes to their structures and businesses. We help them plan ahead to manage risk, make sure they’re sustainable, and profitable.
We welcome school leavers across our business and celebrate the value young people can add.
So, if you’re studying at school or college, and thinking about what’s next, we’ve got real opportunities for those who want to learn, adapt, be challenged and grow. No matter what your background. We also understand how challenging this can be, so to help you make the right decision, we’re here to offer advice and support on where you might fit at PwC.