Grant Thornton boosts school leaver intake to record high

Apprenticeship programme graduate Emma Harkness

LEADING business and financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP is set to welcome a record 213 school leavers onto its apprenticeship programme this year. This is a 13% increase compared to 2022 (188) and the highest number ever welcomed by the firm in one intake.   

This year, for the first time, the ratio of school leavers and graduates joining the firm’s audit department – which hires the largest number of trainees in the business – reached over a 50:50 split, with more school leavers than graduates joining the function.  

Grant Thornton is also set to welcome a record number of new joiners to its overall trainee intake, with 496 school leavers and graduates joining the firm this year combined.   

As well as welcoming its new trainee intake, the firm, which is a founding member of Access Accountancy, is set to offer 218 work experience placements to sixth form students through the scheme this year – a significant increase compared to 2022 (131).  

Stuart Preston, partner at Grant Thornton UK LLP in Scotland, said:   

“The fight for talent in the accountancy profession is fierce and, at Grant Thornton, we’ve been evolving our approach to identifying talent for several years now, with much more of a focus on future potential and strengths, as opposed to past achievements and academic profile. Our focus on increasing our school leaver intake has allowed us to access a new, diverse talent pool that we would previously have been missing.  

“The school leaver apprenticeship route offers an excellent path into the profession for young students. Our school leavers develop into well rounded business advisers, gain an internationally recognised qualification and become professionally qualified two years ahead of their peers who choose to go to university and then join our graduate programme.  

“There are now many different routes available for young people considering a career in accountancy, but we know that misconceptions remain about how to enter the profession. Our continued involvement in important initiatives such as Access Accountancy, helps us to reach young people still at school who would most benefit from the opportunity for work experience and to gain invaluable insight into the profession and the routes available to them.” 

Emma Harkness is an audit associate in the Glasgow office. She joined the firm’s school leaver apprenticeship programme in 2019: 

“I’ve worked in audit at Grant Thornton for 4 years now and am so glad that I chose the school leaver programme. I enjoy learning on the job, so I didn’t think university would have been a good fit for me. The school leaver programme is something I’m really passionate about and have been working with multiple schools since I joined to try and raise awareness of it to potential pupils, so it’s great to see the intake rising.  

“I’ve worked on some really interesting clients and travelled all over the UK since I’ve started working with the firm, all while developing connections and learning from people at all levels within the business. Earning a competitive salary at such a young age has allowed me to travel and experience a lot of new things. Now that I am nearly qualified, I look forward to the range of opportunities the firm has to offer such as secondments to different countries or departments.” 

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