'There are many available routes, a degree is not always needed.'

Thursday 7 November 2019, UCAS advice

by PwC

'There are many available routes, a degree is not always needed.'


School leaver programmes give you a direct route into the world of work. They allow you to learn new skills, meet new people, and earn a wage while you’re learning. Not sure if it’s the right path for you? Mahmoda, from PwC, shares her story.

Why did you choose the programme?
My first experience of PwC was during the Business Insight Week. I saw this as an opportunity to learn about PwC, who they are, and what they do. After attending, I chose to apply to the School and College Leaver programme as I had enjoyed my work experience. If I had attended university, I would have applied for a graduate position after university anyway, so joining the School and College Leaver programme enabled me to work in my desired field, without needing a degree, which appealed to me.

What have you gained from the experience so far?
I’ve learnt many new skills, such as excel and time management, and I have developed my communication skills, as well as gaining specific technical accounting knowledge. I’m now in my third year of the School and College leaver programme, and have completed ten of the 15 ICAEW ACA exams, and I’m currently working towards completing my final five exams.

I’m mainly based in the Reading office, but also enjoy travelling to different client sites, due to the nature of my work. One of the best things about my job is the different people I meet and the vast array of clients I work with. Each one provides an insight into a new company or industry, so I’m always learning something new!

Did you have any hesitations before applying?
I was unsure what career opportunities would be available to me without a degree, but after I researched the qualification, I found there are many available routes, and a degree is not always needed. I also understood that the hands-on work experience I would gain would be very valuable to me and my career aspirations.

What does the programme offer you in terms of career progression?
There’s a natural career progression, moving from an associate, to senior associate, to manager, and your career coach supports you through each stage of the process. There is an opportunity to continually improve with every year of the programme, as the work performed at each level changes and develops.

What would your advice be for someone considering applying for an apprenticeship?
Research the department you are interested in, as well as the qualification that you will receive at the end of your contract. Make sure you ask lots of questions!
Inspired by Mahmoda’s story? Check out the school leavers programmes available at PwC.