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National Apprenticeship Week 2024: Alumnae share advice

National Apprenticeship Week 2024: Alumnae share advice
Alumnae Senior School

It is National Apprenticeship Week  and for 2024 the focus is on 'skills for life'. Two recent alumnae , Isabella and Tawana, share their experiences of apprenticeships and advice on how to apply:

Tawana Robertson (Class of 2022) is currently a Solicitor Apprentice with Dentons whilst studying law at BPP university. At Wimbledon High she balanced A levels in English Literature, Mathematics and Politics with being active in the Women in Politics club and participating in Model United Nations. She has also been working for the Black Apprentice Network since 2022.

Her advice to potential apprenticeships applicants is:

"Demonstrate an eagerness to learn. No one expects you to know everything at this stage so the key is to be interested and receptive. Also be authentic and make it clear where your interests in the specific industry originate from and why. The key is to reflect on yourself and really understand your motivations and passions and then make it it clear to the company to whom you are applying how their values align with yours and why the structure of their programme and their work culture is the best fit for you."

Isabella Whant (Class of  2021) is an Associate in Finance and Tax Solutions on a PWC Higher Degree Apprenticeship and studying for a business management degree.
She tells us more:

What skills did you learn at school which helped you in the workplace?

Time management during A Levels and confidence in speaking to new people, holding presentations and networking.

What did study for your A-Levels and did you also apply for university courses and did you receive any offers?

Maths, Further Maths AS, English Literature, Physics (A*AA*A), offers from Bristol, Edinburgh and Manchester.

Why did you decide on an apprenticeship over university?

I wanted to kickstart my career early and have always considered “doing” as the best way of learning. In my role now I am able to see the theory that I would have otherwise solely studied applied in real business scenarios. I also believe apprentices are the future and will set you apart from competition where degrees are becoming somewhat less meaningful. Additionally, there was no one subject in which I genuinely loved the theory and learning about and I considered what I could do that could combine multiple skills in a more practical sense. 

How did you find the right apprenticeship for you?

I applied to many apprenticeships and did a lot of research into companies I was interested in working for. I received offers from the Civil Service Professional Economist, Bank of America and PwC. I chose PwC because it gave me the opportunity to leave London and have a university experience staying in halls. PwC also had the largest cohort of apprentices so it feels a little more like a university experience. 

What was the application process like?

Quite extensive! 5 stages- cover letter, two exams followed by a group interview and a 1 on 1 interview. The application process is very time consuming but I completed them on my gap year.

What is your apprenticeship like?
There are 50 apprentices working towards a business management course at PwC and we go to uni on Fridays and work Monday to Thursday. The work side is definitely more valuable in terms of experience and knowledge gained. We get paid a salary and my degree is fully funded. I work in the tax and finance solutions service tower where I am studying for my professional Tax qualification and ACAs. The workload is difficult considering I am studying for exams, university and working most days of the week but I love the work that I am doing. I work directly with Senior Managers and Directors and travel around the UK attending events and meetings. I work specifically in Transfer Pricing in the Belfast office and part time in the MoreLondon office in London Bridge. I also do some work for the consulting ESG line of service where I run a microsite on Government and Health Industries Net Zero solutions.  The degree is 100% coursework so it is very manageable in terms of time.

How do you think your apprenticeship will benefit your future career?

My apprenticeship offers a guaranteed job if I get a 2:1 although due to my work so far, I have been offered to remain at PwC after university whether I achieve the grade or not. I think it is not comparable to university in terms of benefitting future careers. I am also studying for professional qualifications which are internationally recognised.

Do you have any advice for anyone interested in or applying for an apprenticeship?

Do your research! There are massive pros and cons of a degree apprenticeship and they are vastly different and not suited to everyone. I am quite lucky where my apprenticeship is sociable and it is unusual to have such a large cohort but it can be quite difficult not having the same holidays or free time as my friends in university. But, in my opinion, the work is worth it- I could not imagine doing anything differently now it just depends on your priorities and interests. 

Application process tip: research the company and find out a specific initiative they have that resonates with you. For example, this could be their values, ESG goals or as a Wimbledon High student you will all be able to talk about the importance of women in the workplace. Also, because the finance apprenticeships are quite new, a lot of companies do not have a structure or set plan which can be unsettling so ask all the questions you can. 


Further Information

UCAS Apprenticeships allows you to search for a wide range of opportunities filtering by date, level and location. Check out the links below to get started.

You can also use your alumnae networks to find out more:


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National Apprenticeship Week 2024: Alumnae share advice