Social mobility

Social mobility: A school leaver’s story

20 year–old Grant Thornton associate accountant Katie Crompton knew she didn’t want to go to university. That was not to say that she didn’t want to further her education while working in the real world and earning a salary.

In her final year of sixth form, through the Access Accountancy* initiative, Katie was given the opportunity to complete a week’s work experience with Grant Thornton. Inspired by the work she did, the new skills she learned and the people she met, she went onto apply and successfully secure a place on Grant Thornton’s school leaver programme. Katie joined the firm in August 2016 as an associate.

When Katie was studying for her A Levels which included Financial Studies, Psychology, Economics and Physical Education, like many students she was unsure about what career she wanted to follow and what kind of work would best suit her interests and abilities. After doing some internet research she came across the Access Accountancy programme. She applied to gain work experience through the initiative and was soon given the opportunity to gain a week’s work experience across both Grant Thornton’s London offices.

This proved a real eye opener for Katie. “It was the first time I had come across a career I thought I would enjoy. The week’s work experience gave me a crash course in a wide range of different areas of accountancy. I also worked on ‘soft skills’ which proved invaluable during the application process as well as in day-to-day life.”

Katie really enjoyed the work experience she had at Grant Thornton and the firm’s culture, so just after completing the access accountancy work experience at the start of her final year of A-Levels she applied for a job in accountancy at the firm. She successfully secured a place on the Grant Thornton school leavers programme, along with 10 other school leavers.

Katie believes that the work experience programme that she undertook while still studying for her A-Levels helped her to decide on her career path at a critical juncture in her education.

“The placement with Grant Thornton reassured me that accountancy was definitely the career for me and that I was keen to start working once I finished school. This can be a tough decision, when your peers are applying for university places.”

“Given how popular and competitive school leaver programmes are becoming, you really need to do your research on the firm you want to apply to and the role you want to do. Access Accountancy gives you the perfect opportunity to do this as you go inside the firm, take part in projects, work with other employees and meet the clients.”

Katie is working in audit, focusing particularly on technology and not-for-profit clients. She is undertaking a five-year training programme and working towards becoming Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) qualified before starting her professional exams. On completing her apprenticeship and passing her exams she will become a fully-fledged qualified accountant.

“I have been given responsibility and treated like an adult from the start. Every day is different which allows me to continually learn new things. As well as getting a job with real prospects, I have made great new friendships. In years to come, I hope to go on secondments to other countries using the qualifications the school leaver programme has given me.”

For more information on our school leavers’ programme please get in touch.

Grant Thornton UK LLP has been recognised for its significant action to improve social mobility in the workplace. In what is believed to be the world’s first-ever Social Mobility Employer Index, the firm ranks first out of the Top 50 employers who have taken the most action to improve social mobility in the workplace.

*Access Accountancy is a profession-wide initiative, of which Grant Thornton is a founding signatory, aimed at improving access to the accountancy profession. Access Accountancy has 28 employer and professional body signatories. All employer signatories are committed to delivering high quality work experience opportunities for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, with a target of 3750 placements completed by 2019. 

Find out more about our school leaver apprenticeship programme.

School leavers
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