What's the best way in to a corporate career?
Making the leap from the classroom to the corporate world might sound daunting – especially when you're watching your friends head off to uni. But if you’ve got big career ambitions, and prefer a more hands-on approach, then a professional services apprenticeship could be the ideal route for you.
More than just offices and suits – here’s how this flexible and supportive learning environment is helping students like you to build the skills, confidence and practical experience they need to kick-start their career ambitions.
Oliver had ambitions of forging a career in finance. He also knew he didn’t want to take the uni route. When the budding Tax Analyst gained an apprenticeship with Deloitte, it was the firm’s supportive culture that helped him settle in and realise he’d made the right decision.
“It was difficult to see all of my friends go off to university, [but]I’ve been told by some that retrospectively they would like to have done the same.
“The people I’m surrounded with every day have really helped me make the transition from sixth form to work. Right from the start, they made sure I felt comfortable.”
Oliver isn’t alone. Jess also felt nervous about jumping straight into the workplace. “I was 17. It was really daunting. But I’m so glad I took the first step” says the fellow BrightStart apprentice.
What's a corporate environment really like?
Support plays a key part in shaping the firm’s strong company culture - and it certainly doesn't end the moment you’ve settled in. In fact, it’s the driving force that helps Deloitte’s apprentices thrive in their roles.
As apprentice Lily-Jo puts it “Starting work is great. I finally get to be in an environment where people want you to learn, and support you in whatever you need, but also allow you to get on with it yourself. Everyone that you meet, from your peers to the Partners, are all so welcoming and everybody genuinely just wants you to do well and succeed. It is such a positive environment to work in.”
It’s this supportive environment that helps apprentices settle in and swiftly feel at home in the corporate world. Just like Lily-Jo, Oliver also quickly relaxed into his role at Deloitte. The supportive culture – and hands-on experience – not only helped the Analyst overcome his shyness but also gain the skills and confidence to lead, too.
“My greatest achievement at work was the first time I was able to lead a client call on my own. I’ve developed [the] ‘soft skills’… to grow the relationship to the point where I can confidently speak to the client and communicate my points clearly.”
Apprentices are also surprised to find that working at Deloitte is actually a lot less formal – and far more encouraging – than they’d imagined. As Technology Associate Chris puts it “My biggest misconception about Deloitte was that it would be a very strict and an unfriendly environment.”
Jess’s views of the corporate environment were also proven wrong. “I thought Deloitte would be very strict. I also thought no one would let me do anything important, in case I got it wrong.”
“I quickly realised that everyone is incredibly nice and the office is an empowering and encouraging environment. I was given responsibilities, treated like an adult and made to feel I was trusted to do well.”
What about the working culture?
But it’s not all office-based – and the firm’s flexibility has also impressed the apprentices. When Oliver was unfortunate enough to dislocate his knee, his team were only too happy to accommodate his injury so he wouldn’t fall behind.
“Because of Deloitte’s agile working practices, I was allowed to rest at home, whilst working on my laptop. There was no pressure from anyone to travel to work on a serious injury. This was extremely helpful.”
Working from home is a perk that appeals to apprentices working across a variety of areas within the firm. As Lily-Jo puts it “We’re able to work anywhere. I work from home on Fridays at the moment. My family are shocked that it’s possible, but I just connect remotely on my Deloitte laptop and have access to everything I’d have if I were at [the office]”
Jess is also a fan of the flexible approach to work, adding “It’s pretty flexible. We’re able to work from home if we need to, which is great… there’s [also] opportunities for overtime and you can work flexibly and start/leave early if you need to.”
When apprentices aren’t enjoying the supportive office environment and flexible working opportunities, they’re on the move. Travel is another perk of the job - and Jess couldn’t be happier about it;
“I had the opportunity to travel to Brussels for the Deloitte North West Europe (NWE) Impact Awards 2018, as a representative of the Cardiff Apprenticeship Scheme. This was a great opportunity to showcase the scheme, meet and network with people from all over Deloitte NWE.”
But what about the social side?
But joining a big corporation doesn’t mean it’s all work, work, work - and if you’re worried about student lifestyle FOMO, then you needn’t be.
“The social side of Deloitte is brilliant.” says Oliver. “On day one, I was asked what my hobbies are… when I responded with ‘Football’, I was immediately asked to join their next 5-a-side game.”
From sports teams and clubs to charity bake sales, happy hour and everything in between – the social side of a larger firm means you won’t have to miss out on the social opportunities you get at university.
“Deloitte is a really sociable company, with big seasonal events” insists Jess.
“We have Deloitte events every few months, which are often all paid for. We also organise smaller drinks events as a department. And there’s always a group of us up for Friday drinks!” says the Analyst apprentice.
“There are team parties at New Year and Christmas, as well as quarterly team outings, for everyone to take part in. Socials with my year’s joiners, as well as my department, are often organised too, and can be great fun.” adds Oliver.
From its supportive culture and flexible working to hands-on learning and social experiences – Deloitte’s apprenticeships are helping students across the UK to fast-track their careers and get one step ahead.
About our sponsor
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