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Degree Apprenticeships: The ideal route to a dream career?

National Careers Week, from 6-10 March 2023, is upon us this and the week is a chance to reflect and celebrate the success our students have in starting their dream careers. The theme for this year is ‘Together’ and at Xaverian College our Careers Team works hard to support our students in accessing the most up-to-date careers information available so they can make informed decisions on their next steps.

Harvey Broughton, Year 13 Xaverian student from Urmston, is one of our many success stories with two offers of Degree Apprenticeships at major global accounting firms. During his first year at Xaverian, Harvey accessed careers support to find out the options that were available to him and realised there are many options for students of his age. Xaverian College students typically progress to Degree courses at university, however Harvey has decided to pursue a different route to reach his destination, that of Degree Apprenticeships.

Whilst at school, Harvey was particularly interested in Maths and enjoyed the challenge of problem-solving using numbers, so this was an area he was keen to continue with at Xaverian. After initially speaking to the Careers Team about his personal statement, he began talking to them about accountancy summer placements to find out more about the industry sector and career routes with the different companies. Harvey commented: “These are a chance for the company to communicate who they are and what they do. You also do some online problem-solving and accounting activities, and you meet other people who also want to follow the same route. I spent a week each at PwC and Deloitte and both really helped me to focus my mind on which direction to take within accountancy and the career opportunities available by following a Degree Apprenticeship.

“The next step was to apply, and generally you can choose to go into audit, tax, consultancy and technology, but as tax stood out to me on the one-week placements, I decided the majority of my applications would be for tax Apprenticeships. After researching further, a shortlist of six companies stood out as being the ones I wanted to apply for.”

The Careers Team supported Harvey through the application process and coached him through the application stages of writing the application, an online video interview, group activity sessions and final interviews. They helped him find videos and websites giving advice on how to approach the different stages, how to make the best impression, and how to approach the final interview with senior staff at the companies. Harvey said: “All the effort was worth it as I have received two offers of an Apprenticeship with a Level 7 in Taxation with a Chartered Accountant qualification and Chartered Tax Advisor, also at Level 7. I’ve been to the Careers Team so many times for help and they’ve always been supportive, and I doubt I could have done it without them.

“My interest in accounting was sparked by my cousin, who works for Deloitte, and he’s involved in lots of varied problem-solving activities with different organisations, and even travels abroad as part of his job role. I love using maths and would really relish using my skills to troubleshoot and help organisations improve their business performance.

“I like the idea of a university lifestyle but I want to have the responsibility that comes with working for an employer and knowing what I am doing day-to-day isn’t just studying and it’s making a difference to the company and clients that I am working for. The Degree Apprenticeship will get me to the same place as university but I will also be gaining experience alongside as I am doing it.

Joanne Leach, Careers Manager at Xaverian, supported Harvey through the process of applying to the different accounting companies. She said: “University is the typical destination choice for students after leaving Xaverian, however choosing a Degree Apprenticeship can be an excellent route for students to achieve their career ambitions, whilst achieving high-level qualifications at the same time. It’s been a pleasure to support Harvey through the process and he has worked incredibly hard to achieve the offers of places on two Degree Apprenticeship programmes, and we would encourage other students to consider the same route as Harvey.”

If students are considering options other than university, the Careers Team here at Xaverian has lots of experience and resources to help students make informed decisions and make the right choice about their next steps.

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