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Demand for apprenticeships rockets in London, says PwC

PwC London

London: Applications for London based Higher Apprenticeship jobs have rocketed over 300 percent since the financial crisis began, says professional services group PwC.

Applications from London and the surrounds to the firm's school leaver programmes doubled last year to over 1000, as over 30 new Higher Apprenticeship jobs were created in the firm's London Bridge and Embankment based Consulting and Tax teams. 40% of all applications nationwide for student level jobs were for London roles.

PwC has recruited London school leavers for over ten years, and last year the firm launched the first ever nationally recognised Higher Apprenticeship for the professional services industry. The Higher Apprenticeship programme offers students the chance to earn while they learn, and work towards an internationally recognised industry qualification in tax, consulting or audit. This year the firm will recruit around 50 Higher Apprentices in London in Tax and Consulting.

Richard Irwin, head of recruitment said, "London's always a popular choice for our graduate jobs, but the level of interest in the Higher Apprenticeship proves that students are seriously considering alternatives, and are waking up to the fact that not all City careers in the future will have to start with university."

As almost thirty employers, and up to 600 students gather this week for one of the largest ever Apprenticeship Careers fairs, hosted by Bridge School in Hackney, London, the firm called on more employers and young people to work closely together to demystify the world of work and Apprenticeships.

A recent study by the Education & Employers Taskforce on perceptions of Apprenticeships reported that 88% of young adults who heard from three or more employers about careers while at school say it helped them decide on a career. However just 11% had the opportunity to hear from at least three working professionals before leaving school or college.

Gaenor Bagley, head of people, PwC said, "We have to demystify the world of work, business and young people's options for study if we are to realistically attract a wider range of people to the professions and the City. With the routes into work and training changing so radically over the past five years, Higher Apprenticeships are a simple idea, with far -reaching consequences for development of business skills, to support UK growth.

"Employers have to do more to tackle young people's misconceptions about Apprenticeships being limited, or risky or second best. Events like this week's careers fair target students at school when they are thinking about their next steps. It's vital they understand the school leaver opportunities that are opening up in the City for them, particularly when there is concern about graduate employment."

"The cost of raising awareness is low, and there is much to gain for both employers and students from events as simple as an open day, or presentation on how someone's skills and training led them to the job they do."

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