Behind The Scenes at PwC - An Apprentice's Tale!

Publish Date: 2023-10-02

Hello, my name is Charlotte and I’m a Higher Apprentice in Tax at PwC, based in our London office. I joined PwC in September 2022 after studying A-level Maths, Chemistry and Economics. I’m currently studying for my ATT (Association of Tax Technicians) qualification. In my free time I like to spend time with my friends and watch F1!


How did you find out about PwC?


I found out about PwC through Young Professionals (YP) during year 12. I joined a virtual work experience with YP where PwC was one of the speakers. I heard about their School Leaver programmes so decided to look into them further and signed up to their Talent Community so that I was the first to hear when applications opened.



In year 13, was an apprenticeship always what you wanted to do? Or were you thinking about university?


In year 13 I realised that I wanted to do an apprenticeship rather than going to university. I ended up not applying for university at all and focussed on apprenticeship applications. For me, I knew that I wanted to go into the finance industry and that I wanted to start gaining experience, so I decided to exclude university from my post 18 route.



How did you find the application process? Were there any assessment centres you had to go to?


The application process is made up of an initial application (no CV was required), an online assessment, a video interview and an assessment centre. For me, the process had variation which made it interesting as it was not just all ‘knowledge’ based which allowed me to show different skills. Although, as you might expect, I felt a certain amount of pressure as I wanted to do well but I decided to just be myself and respond as I would normally do, and try not to overthink my answers.



Did you start your apprenticeship immediately after year 13? Or did you take a gap year etc?


I decided to start my apprenticeship immediately after year 13.



How have you found the programme so far? Have you enjoyed it?


I’m really enjoying the programme so far. The first few weeks can be a bit overwhelming but that is expected for an 18 year old leaving school and going straight into full time employment! The nerves go away very quickly as you feel supported and get used to what day to day life is. I have predominantly worked in one team who respect the work/study balance. I’ve also started my qualification (ATT) and have already taken and passed 3 out of the 6 exams.



What has been the best parts about the apprenticeship?


For me the best part so far has been the experience of joining client meetings and going to client sites. It’s great to visit different offices and see different places of work. I also enjoy meeting new people with varying levels of experience and working with them across different projects. Everyone at PwC is really friendly, meaning we often hang out socially after work too - this was something I thought I might miss out on when I chose to do an apprenticeship over university, but it’s not the case here.



Do you feel like you are "missing out on the university experience"?


Personally I don’t feel I’m missing out on the university experience. As previously mentioned, the social aspect of the apprenticeship is better than I originally thought, whether that is the team you work with or those from your intake that you go to college with. Having your weekend free is also great to visit your friends and summer working hours (a flexible working opportunity that PwC offered this summer) are another bonus especially when your friends are home from university!



Have you made any new friends at PwC?


I have! This was one of my biggest worries when I joined but from the first week this was not an issue. I would say the majority of my friends are those who joined on the same programme as me. As I go to college with them, we have that mutual connection of joining at the same time and studying together. The induction week allows you to meet new joiners from different business areas rather than just the team you’re in which is great!



What does a day in the life of a PwC apprentice look like?


It really does change from day to day. Some days you are in college studying for an exam and other days you will be at a client site. Most days you will be involved in a meeting of some sort either with your team or with a client. Usually I am involved in helping draft deliverables and emails to go to clients alongside admin work which allows me to have a great overview as a junior.



Is the apprenticeship what you thought it would be?


It is and isn’t at the same time. I didn't expect to be as involved in client work as I was at the start which was a pleasant surprise as this was something I thought would take more time to be involved in. The study/work balance is great and the support levels from your team are as good as expected.



Would you recommend this programme to current students?


I would. If you’re someone who wants to go straight into work rather than going to university, I would highly recommend this programme. When I applied I was unsure if I would like working in tax, after all it was completely new to me. However, after seeing the type of work that happens and I’m involved in, I can really recommend the programme as there’s so much more to tax than what you learn at school or hear about in the news.



What are the three most important skills needed to be an apprentice?


Be yourself, take any opportunities that come your way and be willing to learn.