The mid-tier firm said it increased its intake from 19 school-leavers 6 years ago to 70 this year, given the firm’s commitment to widening access to the profession.
GT explained there is now a business need to attract entry-level talent in a competitive market.
A quarter (26%) of GT’s trainee intake is now made up of school leavers. The firm offers a five-year programme where they work with a cross-section of clients at the same time as studying for professional accountancy qualifications.
The top five firm said the best people might not always be the most academic, but may have other skills to offer the firm and its clients.
Under the programme, the school leavers first complete relevant Higher Apprenticeships and then complete professional chartered accountancy qualifications.
Richard Waite, head of resourcing at GT, said, “At Grant Thornton we champion the opportunities a Higher Apprenticeship can offer. This entry route has grown enormously in popularity, which is reflected by the huge increase in our school leaver intake over the past six years.
“Focusing on Higher Apprenticeships has proven beneficial for our business in a number of ways. We work hard to build and maintain a market-leading candidate experience for A-level students considering alternatives to university. Doing this well allows us to compete successfully for talent in a very competitive market place.”
The firm removed academic barriers to entry in 2015, opening up a new pool of talent and increase opportunities for a more diverse range of people.