Julia Irvine 13 Apr 2017 01:24pm

EY school-leaver apprenticeship scheme approved

EY has confirmed that it will take on 200 apprentices in September now that its application for employer provider status has been approved by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA)

The chosen group of school leavers will work towards an apprenticeship and a globally recognised accountancy qualification. They will start on a salary of £21,500 and, according to the firm, their career path and experiences will be the same as for graduates.

“Apprenticeships provide an attractive alternative to university for students and, at the same time, an opportunity for employers to upskill their people and indeed the UK workforce,” said Maggie Stilwell, managing partner for talent at EY, UK and Ireland.

“We see impressive students keen to start their career at the earliest opportunity, who are enthusiastic, energetic and hungry to learn. We want to harness that talent by creating more routes into the profession.”

The Big Four firm announced that it would be recruiting the apprentices last year following government proposals to create three million apprenticeships for young people. Since then it has been sifting through applications from students leaving school this summer.

It says that there are still vacancies in Newcastle, Leeds, Cambridge, Reading, London and Bristol.

Earlier this month, the firm won the Best School Leaver Programme award from TARGETJobs because of the work it is doing to remove barriers to entry into the profession and the range of possibilities it offers to school leavers.

As an approved employer provider, EY will be subject to OFSTED and ESFA reviews to ensure that the quality of the training meets the requisite high standards.

In March last year the Big Four firms joined other large and small employers in the professional services sector to develop a new higher trailblazer apprenticeship standard for the audit, accountancy and tax professions.

Last month, ICAEW announced that it had been approved as an apprentice assessment organisation.

As such, it will deliver the End Point Assessments (EPAs) for the trailblazer apprenticeship which will allow apprentices to demonstrate their competence.

Apprentices will also be able to gain the ICAEW CFAB qualification and enhance their technical knowledge, alongside the skills that they will gain through their work experience, it said.