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Apprenticeships increase opportunities for A Level school leavers

As students across the nation prepare to receive their A Level results, a new survey from leading business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP finds that an increasing number of employers are looking to hire post-A Level students on to apprenticeship programmes, presenting ambitious young people with a wider range of choices beyond university education.

According to the poll of 608 mid-sized UK employers*:

  • all but one respondent currently recruit post-A Level apprentices
  • over a third (39%) hire more apprentices post- A Level now than they did before the pandemic
  • just under half (41%) say that secondary school graduate hires are just as important to their business as university graduate hires
  • 40% say school leaver programmes promote social mobility in their organisation

In 2021, Grant Thornton (recently named in the top 10 of the Department for Education’s Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers 2022) hired 90 trainees post-A Level – the highest annual intake recorded by the firm.

Richard Waite, Head of Resourcing at Grant Thornton UK LLP, says that the firm is on track to hire even more post-A Level apprentices in 2022 as it seeks to realise its ambition of a 50:50 split in its trainee hire population between university and A Level graduates:

“University degrees are not for everyone, and apprenticeships offer young people the opportunity to start working towards a professional qualification straight away - and get paid to do it.  People who join our firm after A Levels will spend four to five years studying, learning and gaining real, work experience.  Not only do they get the all the skills and training they need to become a trusted business and financial advisor, but they could also qualify a year earlier than their peers who go to university and then join as graduates.

“In our firm, as with the businesses who responded to our survey, we know that apprenticeships are a useful tool to promote social mobility as they increase opportunities for people, providing in-depth, practical learning and development and ensure a future pipeline of diverse talent.

“With ongoing skills shortages challenging employers, and the increasing cost of living, it is more important than ever for large organisations to provide high quality, paid programmes that provide opportunities for the widest range of talent, creating benefit for both business and people”

*The Grant Thornton Business Outlook Tracker is a bi-monthly survey of mid-market businesses. Censuswide (on behalf of Grant Thornton UK LLP) surveyed 591 senior decision makers in UK mid-market businesses with office space, between 1-13 June 2022. The UK mid-market is defined as companies with an annual turnover between £50million - £500million.

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