On A Level results day, leading business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP has announced its school leaver intake is on the rise.

The firm has offered 80 school leaver positions as part of its 2019 trainee intake. This is almost a 10% increase compared to 2018 (74) and more than four times the number hired in 2011, where 19 joined the firm.

School leavers now represent around a quarter of Grant Thornton’s total trainee intake across the country. They join the firm for a five-year programme during which they work with a cross-section of clients whilst also studying for professional accountancy qualifications. School leavers at the firm first complete relevant higher apprenticeships before going on to complete professional chartered accountancy qualifications.

Seven students set to join the firm’s school leaver programme this year first joined Grant Thornton through Access Accountancy - a work experience programme aimed at ensuring everyone has equal access to the accountancy profession – of which Grant Thornton is a founding signatory.

Richard Waite, head of resourcing, Grant Thornton UK LLP, commented:

“More young people are considering different routes after leaving school, with some preferring to secure a professional apprenticeship over higher education. Our school leaver programme offers the same opportunities as our graduate scheme but allows participants to enter the world of work earlier and earn a salary, at the same time as studying for their qualifications.

“We have worked hard to build and maintain a market-leading offering and candidate experience for A-level students considering alternatives to university and were the first large professional services firm to remove academic barriers to entry. We are proud to be widening access to the profession and champion the benefits that apprenticeships and initiatives such as Access Accountancy - which have already opened our industry to more talented and ambitious trainees - can offer.

“While our school leaver intake has increased significantly over the past few years, we continue to challenge ourselves to create a firm where opportunity is open to all regardless of background.”

Glenroy Dacosta, audit associate, is set to start his third year on Grant Thornton’s school leaver programme. He said:

“When I was in sixth form, the norm was for everyone to go to university to get a degree; but this is not the only option. The apprenticeship route has allowed me to pursue the career I’ve always wanted and opened doors that I thought were firmly shut to me.

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“The firm has been really supportive and involved me in challenging, interesting work from the start, with a wide variety of clients and some fantastic people. I’ve also been able to make time for my studies and been given all the necessary resources to succeed.

“I’m now close to completing my AAT qualification and am definitely not the same person I was a few years ago. When I started at Grant Thornton I was very quiet and pretty much kept to myself, whereas now I’m a confident individual that embraces challenges and new opportunities.”

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