The Professional Services Higher Apprenticeship

An introduction to Higher Apprenticeships

In this short video, our team discuss the key aspects of the new Higher Apprenticeship in professional services, including what it is and how it provides a new option to the professions for young people.

View transcript


Matt Hamnett: Hello. Never before have young people had so many different options around their careers and their education. One really interesting option is apprenticeships and a new development: higher apprenticeships.

My name is Matt Hamnett, I’m the programme director for a piece of work that we are doing at the moment to create a new professional services higher apprenticeship. I’m joined today by Alex Baker and Matt Spyrou, part of the team that are creating the new programme.

Matt Hamnett: Alex, what is an apprenticeship?

Alex Baker: Well at its simplest, Matt, an apprenticeship is a way of training that combines real work with learning, which means that employees who are apprentices get to earn a wage, get to do a real job whilst training and whilst working towards a number of qualifications.

Matt Hamnett: Higher apprenticeships are a relatively new offer, how do they differ?

Alex Baker: Essentially they are the same thing. They are that combination of training and real work, but at the first steps of a higher education.

Matt Hamnett: The professional services higher apprenticeship, what is that?

Alex Baker: Well, this is a piece of work that PwC’s been leading on with employers and other organisations across the professional services sector who will offer new routes into jobs in tax, in audit and in management consultancy. In those tax and audit groups – those apprenticeships will be aligned with professional qualifications so you will get a professional award as part of the wider apprenticeship qualification that you gain.

Matthew Hamnett: Matt, what skills are employers looking for from their apprentices?

Matthew Spyrou: Employers will be looking for a small number of key skills. Those will include really good communication and teamwork skills. The apprentices will be working within teams and potentially with clients from the off, so those are crucial. They will also be looking for IT skills, commercial awareness and quite importantly, a strong desire and passion to work in the area.

Matthew Hamnett: What are the routes into this apprenticeship , what might you have done before?

Matthew Spyrou: I think the key thing about this higher apprenticeship is that it creates a new option for young people who are interested in these kinds of jobs and want to get there in different ways. So they want to work earlier on in their journey. They could have just finished their A-Levels, they could have done work experience or they could have done another apprenticeship to get here.

Matthew Hamnett: These are difficult jobs, what do we think the entry requirements will look like?

Matthew Spyrou: The entry requirements will differ depending on the employer who is offering the apprenticeship. They are high skilled careers so the entry criteria will be challenging.

Matthew Hamnett: Alex, and who might you be working for on this apprenticeship?

Alex Baker: Well there are a number of different people that you might be working for. Firstly audit, tax or management consultancy firms, but we are also very aware that those routes exist across the economy in all different industries, so you could be working in a tax, audit or consultancy job in a different business.

Matthew Hamnett: What would you be doing?

Alex Baker: If we take this pathway by pathway, so firstly starting with audit. You would probably be supporting internal or external audits which would mean supporting sections of those audits as part of a bigger team and maybe analysing clients financial records. On the tax side of things, that would involve giving tax advice to clients, maybe supporting them as they fill out tax forms. Then in the management consultancy side of things, because the nature of management consultancy is giving advice to clients, you might be carrying out the analysis that supported that advice, helping give recommendations to clients, or supporting the management consultancy sales process.

Matthew Hamnett: And we also think that organisations might use the consulting pathway in relation to different sorts of jobs in terms of business development and things like that.

Alex Baker: Yes that’s true because the management consultancy apprenticeship gives you a range of business skills that could be appropriate in other areas.

Matthew Hamnett: So Matt, how do I apply, and who do I apply to?

Matthew Spyrou: A range of professional services employers will be offering this, they will be large employers, small employers all across the country. I am delighted to say that we as PwC are going to be using the programme and to find out more information, you can visit our careers website.

Matthew Hamnett: And how do I find out about vacancies in other organisations?

Matthew Spyrou: All apprenticeship vacancies are available online at the National Apprenticeships Services website, that’s:-, and you can also find out more information on individual employers’ websites.

Matthew Hamnett: Alex, Matt – thank you.

For more details, please download the Professional Services factsheet.