A world-class career

A career with PwC offers the chance to develop more than just your professional skills, says Ollie Nightingale 

By the time I was 18 I’d already settled on a three year plan that would see me gain a professional qualification without going to university.

It was only in my final year of A levels that I decided to forgo the university route and enter employment. Choosing what to do and where to apply was, in the end, an easy decision after reading about the ‘Headstart’ scheme on the PwC website and the work experience I’d completed with PwC the previous summer. By joining PwC as a school leaver, I hoped to embark on a career in an environment that potentially would allow me to develop more than just my professional skills. And so far, so good. PwC CI is keen to employ local people, but also offers some opportunities to candidates from all over the globe, all with varying backgrounds and something unique to offer. After getting to know my peer group this became apparent; school leavers like me, university graduates and those who’ve made career switches. We’ve all joined the firm recently to pursue careers in either Assurance or Tax together.   

On starting a PwC training contract, a choice is given between two professional qualifications, ACA and ACCA. Whilst the route may vary, the destination is the same - becoming a qualified accountant (after passing the exams). ACA sees students undertake over half their exams in the first year and can lend itself towards those who like to cram. In contrast to this, ACCA sees the exams spread over a longer period of time. A detailed explanation is given by PwC on the first day, so you can make a well-informed choice, but it’s still something worth researching beforehand.  

Working and studying does have its challenges but PwC invests a lot into your study, including the cost of training, the exam entry fees and the support you receive personally from within the firm which is invaluable. Rather a contrast to my peers at university, paying huge sums to study! The PwC buddy and coaching system is very worthwhile and ensures that there’s always someone to talk to about your studies or to answer any other question you may have. It’s great to know nearly everyone in the office has gained or is in the process of gaining one of these qualifications. 

I am training in auditing and five months into the job, I’ve already visited numerous clients and been given responsibility to undertake areas of work myself, with support from the team when needed. I enjoy the geographic and client variety that working within audit offers. It often means meeting clients in different working environments, having face to face conversations with them and constantly meeting new people. This all helps to keep the job interesting and fresh. I also really enjoy being part of a team that helps identify and solve clients’ problems. It’s great to be able to personally make a difference.

It’s true, PwC really does value diversity in its people and once you’ve qualified, the PwC Network offers a host of opportunities for you to travel. Spin a globe and pinpoint a location and the likelihood is PwC will have an office there.  In fact, we’ve offices in 153 different countries and 776 cities, all offering something slightly different in terms of career development for the people working there. PwC CI staff have gone to Melbourne, Boston and beyond on secondments, whilst a number of international staff have found themselves working for the CI firm in Guernsey to experience island life!

Another key attraction for me is the healthy work/life balance which is encouraged from the outset of your career. In particular, PwC is well-known for the emphasis it places on sporting and social activities. Just since joining last September, I’ve attended numerous social gatherings, with trips to Herm and Sark already organised for the summer months ahead. Alongside such adventures, on the sporting side PwC boasts eight teams competing in various sporting activities across the Island. These teams offer employees of all capabilities a real chance to get competitive and I’ve found they’re a great way to interact with different people and spend time with staff members of all levels.

PwC’s emphasis on sports and social activities really appealed to me as, growing up, I thrived on playing many sports locally and I didn’t want it all to stop when I entered the ‘world of work’. As a student, I regularly competed in high level competitions representing Guernsey in both swimming and cricket. Fortunately, since joining PwC, it’s been made possible for me to continue both sports competitively, despite the hours of commitment needed. I’m extremely grateful for the support and encouragement I receive at work, a key factor in my continued participation in these competitive events. And it’s not just sporting interests they support. We’ve got people who fit in volunteering, from providing reading support in schools to helping out at youth clubs. 

PwC genuinely puts the emphasis on personal development both inside and outside the office, as well as on the growth of the business.

If what you’ve read has got you thinking about PwC as a career option, you’ll want to know that applications are currently being accepted for 2014/15 and places are already being filled. So, if you’re interested in applying, whether you’re an A level student or graduate, start thinking about making your move now. We’ve also just launched an exciting internship programme. It’s designed so local undergraduates can see for themselves that a fulfilling world class career can start at PwC CI.