Apprenticeships - Professional Services

Going to university and pursuing a degree is not the only option available to bright students. With the significant cost of a degree combined with its potential devaluation, you may want at least to consider your options. There are a number of firms offering very attractive School Leaver Programmes. These are well paid and you may find run parallel to many graduate schemes. They have the attraction of being less competitive at A level entry, therefore gaining you entry into an organisation that you may struggle to secure as a graduate, when the competition is fiercer. You will also be debt free. These schemes are becoming increasingly popular with employers. 






Schemes include:

Professional Services: Accenture Apprenticeships

accentureThe Accenture Apprenticeship Programme consists of 3 years combined work and study. You will rotate across three different areas of business throughout your time on the course;

  • Application Maintenance: the area of the business that provides support and expertise to clients’ to ensure operations are delivered and maintained without any problems. On this rotation you’ll hone technical development skills and get a full understanding of service delivery.        
  • Service Management: the single point of contact for all clients who use Accenture IT services. On this rotation you’ll be providing technical support to users. 
  • Testing: the area that verifies that systems or products meet the functional, performance, design and implementation specifications.

If you feel however that one area suits you better, then you will be able to concentrate more on that specialism.

Training & Development

As well as your on-the-job experience you will have structured training delieverd by Newcastle College (NCG) and Northumbria University, as you work towards Level 3 and Level 4 apprenticeships. In your first year, your study with NCG will be concentrated in two ’semesters’. During those terms you’ll cover units that include Computer Systems, Data Analysis and Design, and Website Production. It’s not all about the technical side though, and you’ll also get training in communication skills.

In your second and third years, you will study for a Foundation degree in IT with Northumbria University covering topics such as Web Technologies and Application Development for Mobile Devices and also undertake work based projects. Meanwhile, your Accenture training will cover areas such as Software Design and Development, and Systems Analysis and Design.

Over the 3 years you will complete 200 days of training — half delivered by our education training partner (NCG) and half delivered by Accenture specialists.   

You’ll emerge at the end of your apprenticeship with sharp business acumen, a wealth of technological knowledge, and a Higher Apprenticeship for IT, Software, Web & Telecoms Professionals which includes a Foundation Degree and Edexcel Level 4 BTEC Diploma in Professional Competence for IT and Telecoms Professionals (QCF)

Employment Details

In the first year you’ll earn £7,800 and £12,305 in your second and third years. You’ll also receive a £2,000 bonus when you finish. You will also have access to a nearby canteen and subsidised gym.

The apprenticeships are all based at Accenture's UK Delivery Centre in Cobalt Business Park, just outside Newcastle. This is one of Accenture’s centres for excellence — and is particularly focused on technology services delivery. 

You don’t need any specific qualifications to apply to the apprenticeship scheme. You apply by sending a CV and covering letter via the website. This is followed by a telephone interview and assessment morning. 

Professional Services: Cap Gemini

capgemminiThe Cap Gemini Technology Apprenticeship Programme is a 5-year Higher Apprentice Programme, with a sponsored degree aimed at  students with A levels or equivalent. It is designed to develop software engineers. The programme leads to a vocational BSc in Computing & IT and several professional qualifications. It will provide a thourough grounding in software engineering and provide experience on client projects. You will develop skills in a number of environments such as .net, Microsoft & Java and work woth cloud computing. 

You will be given the opportunity to study part time for a BSC degree and  sponsored throughout so no requirment to accumulate debt. 

To be eligible, you require:
·      at least 5 GCSEs at Grade C or above, including maths and English

·      to have or expect 3 A-levels, grades C or above, or equivalent (e.g. National BTEC with at least 1 distinction, or completion of a full IT-related Advanced Apprenticeship with work experience).

·      A-levels are likely to include an IT-related subject (e.g. maths or science)

·      demonstrable passion and capability in software development (e.g. you might have designed a website or a game)

·      high analytical capability

·      good oral and written communication

·      good interpersonal skills

·      self-motivation

·      ability to work well as part of a team

·      ability and willingness to travel to different offices and client sites after your first 3 months.

Professional Services: Deloitte Bright Start Programme

deloitteThe BrightStart programme is available for students who have completed A levels (or equivalent), but have decided that university is no longer the preferred choice or available option for them. BrightStart is an established and highly structured five-year programme, where you’ll benefit from excellent training at every step, plus full support to gain professional qualifications that are respected and recognised right across the business world

The programme accepts students who have achieved at least 300 UCAS points at A-level (or equivalent).

The scheme recruits c100 high achieving school leavers and provides the opportunity to gain a full professional business qualification. The professional qualification you will be working towards depends on the business area you join. You will be studying for professional exams in tandem with your everyday projects.

Opportunities exist within: Audit, Consulting, Risk Consulting, Restructuring Services, Tax and Real Estate.

Your day to day role will differ depending on which area of the business you join. You will spend time working for clients either based at their offices or the Deloitte office. You will also spend time preparing for your exams and attending internal training courses.

What are the entry requirements:

  • GCSE (or equivalent) Maths at grade B or above and English Language at grade C or above
  • Predicted 300 UCAS points from A-Levels (or equivalent) excluding General Studies for Audit and Tax
  • Predicted 320 UCAS points from three A-Levels (or equivalent) excluding General Studies for Corporate Finance and Consulting

Apply online.

Learn more about Deloittes assessment process and online tests HERE.

Professional Services: EY Business Apprenticeship

eylogoIf you want to get into the business world but don't want to go to university, the EY Business Apprenticsehip gives you access to a combination of training and work experience. You’ll go straight into a full-time job with a great starting salary, giving you independence and responsibility — without going to university first. When you qualify, you’ll have the same professional qualification you’d normally study for after university, and you’ll earn this sooner than a graduate, with the same career options to look forward to. You’ll be given challenging work on a diverse range of projects and clients, developing a host of transferable skills.



If you are currently at school/college, you must be completing 3 A levels, 5 Highers or equivalent qualifications.

Find out more about how to prepare for the job assessment process of EY HERE

Professional Services: Grant Thornton School Leaver Programme, Accelerate

grantthorntonGrant Thornton are a global organisation providing business and financial advice to over 40,000 clients. Their School Leaver Programme, Accelerate, is in place of a degree and has grown significantly over the last few years. Its aimed at students who are bright enough to go to universioty but have decided that they would prefer to kick start their career immediately and also not saddle themselves with any student debt. You’ll join c100 others to train to become a respected business adviser, get AAT, ATT or ACCA qualified, depending on the area you join.

After AAT most trainees go on to study towards the ACA. Those starting on ATT will often then begin studying for the CTA qualification. In all cases, you’ll get top-quality training, plus plenty of support, variety and responsibility at every stage. If you pass the exams you'll qualify in the first four years. And after that, all sorts of possibilities open up – including moving to other areas of Grant Thornton – in the UK and abroad.

To apply, you’ll need a real interest in business and a desire to make an impact.

Get in touch with Grant Thornton to discuss the role further by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Professional Services: IBM IT Apprenticeship Programme

ibmIBM, offer an IT Apprenticeship programme for school leavers. This is a 2-year training programme, where you will work as part of ones of the worlds leading technology companies as well as gain a professional qualification; The Advanced Apprenticship for IT Professionals. Job roles include either the Technical Support Specialist or the Product Support Specialist. In the former you will develop proof of concepts, design, develop, build and test and implement systems to solve clients business and IT problems. You will be a hands-on professional given the opportunity to learn in-depth about IBM products and services. In the Product Support role you will provide post sales support on hardware and software products. You will work at either customer locations or in one of the IBM support centres. You will be diagnosing problems and providing support directly to clients. You need at least 8 GCSEs (Grades A* to C) including Maths and English and at least 2 A Levels (or equivalent) at grade C or above.

Practice tailored psychometric tests similar to the ones used by IBM HERE.

Professional Services: KPMG School & College Leaver Programme

kpmg logoKPMG  in the UK has 22 offices and is part of a global network of firms offering Audit, Tax and Advisory services to some of the world’s biggest businesses. Their 360° programme could be the choice for you if you are looking to start work, but still curious about which area of the business you prefer. This unique new programme lets you work towards Professional Qualifications and includes a foundation year. You’ll be able to experience different parts of KPMG, giving you a comprehensive overview of what they do, the people and the clients and putting choice around specialism in your hands as you develop your career.

The programme will last three or six years depending on the career path you decide to take.

Responsibilities and Tasks

The rotational placements at the heart of the KPMG360° programme are designed to give you an overview of the huge variety of projects that they undertake as firm. As you undertake placements across Audit, Tax and Advisory, there’ll be no such thing as a typical day, but each placement will include: 

  • Proactively looking to become an integral part of the team, networking and developing relationships internally and with key members of the clients’ teams
  • Developing commercial awareness, communication, team-work, employability and technical skills as you undertake structured placements across Audit, Tax and Advisory. 
  • Embracing new ideas and approaches, seeking out new responsibilities and proactively getting involved with a wide range of work. 
  • Displaying an understanding of KPMG’s values and demonstrating behaviours that inspire the trust and confidence of team members. 
  • You will take on tasks that directly add value to clients and the business.

Work will vary from placement to placement, but could include:

  • Working as part of an audit team, tasks could include audit of cash, fixed asset additions and disposals and the verification to underlying records and checking of mathematical accuracy of company financial statements. 
  • Liaising with HMRC and drafting correspondence to clients. 
  • Providing valuable support to client facing teams in advisory – projects could relate to anything from cyber security to fraud investigations. 
  • Research tasks
  • General support to project teams, including taking minutes at meetings, preparing engagement letters and billing.

Qualifications you'll study towards

- First year: Once you join the programme you will have regular conversations about your career. Your foundation year will allow you to make an informed choice about your career path going forward. 
- Second and third year: A Technician Level qualification that will enable to you become a qualified professional. 
- Fourth, fifth and sixth year: A professional qualification, for example ACA, CA, CTA or CIMA. You will decide whether to specialise in Audit, Tax or Advisory and your qualification studied will reflect this decision.

Entry Requirements

  • GCSE: Minimum of five A*- C (including English Language and Maths)
  • A Level: Minimum BCC. (excluding general studies)
  • Scottish Entry: Minimum of five 1-3 grades (Maths and English)
  • Highers or advanced highers - equivalent to 260 UCAS points.

However, it's not just your academic performance they are interested in, they will assess your application by combining a number of different factors for example your answers to some of their competency based questions when filling out the application form.

Professional Services: Mazars School Leaver Scheme

mazarsMazar School Leaver training scheme offers you the opportunity to gain a professional qualification (AAT or ATT) whilst earning a competitive salary and gaining invaluable experience. 

AAT stands for the Association of Accounting Technicians. The AAT qualification gives you a great grounding in practical accounting knowledge and skills.

Successful completion of your AAT will also enable you to ‘fast track’ on to a Chartered Accountancy qualification. This makes the AAT / ACA route a very competitive alternative for talented A level students who are considering whether or not to go to university. You could be fully ACA qualified in 4 years.

Mazars offers 3 schemes: tax, external audit and outsourcing. 

You will receive a full study package and time off to attend college. Mazars support all trainees with a blended approach to training and development, so classroom study, 1:1 coaching and support and, as you progress, technical and skills training to enable you to progress to management and leadership positions.

Academic Requirements

You’ll need to have, or be on track to gain, at least 280 UCAS points (to have achieved in the same academic year), although your A level (or equivalent) subjects are not important. They also look for Grade B or above in GCSE English Language and Maths.

What do they look for?

Talented individuals who are keen to learn and develop. They are looking for people who are interested in working in a client facing business, with good numerical reasoning and communication skills. Importantly, people with a positive attitude, who enjoy working as part of a team and taking responsibility.


Learn more about Mazars assessment process and online tests HERE.

Professional Services: PWC School & College Leaver Higher Apprenticeships

PWC offer a range of higher apprenticeships for school leavers as an alternative to going to university. They have programmes in:

  • Assurance
  • Tax
  • Deals
  • Consulting

On all the programmes you will complete formal training and study for qualifications. You need 280 UCAS points to apply (240 points for tax).

Professional Services: RSM Apprenticeships

RSM (previously Baker Tilly). offer tax, audit and consulting advice. They have a range of school leaver programmes, in the following areas:

  • Accounting * Business Advisory
  • Consultancy
  • Corporate finance
  • External audit
  • Fraud
  • Internal audit
  • It
  • Tax
  • Technology Consulting
  • Technology Risk

Deopending on your placment, you will get the opportunity to choose whether you gain the relevent professional qualifications from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors (CIA), the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) or the ICAEW and ICAS Chartered Accountant (ACA).

Qualifications required

You’ll need a minimum of Grade C in English Language and Maths GCSE and predicted 240 UCAS* to apply (or equivalent). 



Professional Services: Smith & Williamson Higher Apprenticeships

smithandwilliamsonSmith & Williamson offer a relatively unique combination of financial services, private banking and investment management. They provide higher apprenticeships in assurance & business services, private client tax or business tax. If you’re looking for an opportunity where you will be doing real work, on real accounts with real responsibility from an early stage, then  this is an option. You’ll also work toward a professional qualification with full support throughout your studies, including ongoing in-house training, appraisals, and mentoring.The qualifications you’ll study towards will depend on the department you’re in. These include: Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (CBAF), Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA), Association of Tax Technicians (ATT) and Chartered Tax Advisor (CTA).

Assurance & Business Services means working directly with managing and financial directors being responsible for checking that numbers stack up with fact.  Corporate Tax ensures clients are tax efficient and compliant and Private Client tax provides tax advice to individuals.

Learn more about Smith & Williamson's assessment process and online tests HERE

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