A world of opportunities

Samuel Inder, who is currently undertaking a work placement at PwC as part of his university business studies course, explains why he chose the firm in Guernsey over the hustle and bustle of a London office

The next step in life can be a very daunting prospect; however it is also a very exciting one, with vast possibilities of jobs available in Guernsey, have you considered a career at PwC?

Leaving school after my A levels, I had no idea what career path I wanted to take. I decided to further my learning by accepting a four year sandwich course in business studies at Bournemouth University. 

I am currently in my work placement year and will then head back to University to complete my final year and apply the knowledge and skills I have learnt to write my dissertation.

I didn’t intend on coming home to Guernsey to complete my placement year, initially my heart was set on working in a large office in the hustle and bustle of London. However after assessing my options and seeing the potential for development in PwC’s Channel Islands firm, it seemed like a no-brainer to return home for a year. 

Unlike the vast majority of  placement opportunities offered in the UK, PwC CI are investing a lot of money and trust in me to complete my first year of ACCA training during my placement year. On my University course of 300 people, I believe I am the only person who has been offered such an opportunity. The plan is then for me to return to PwC after I graduate and complete the remaining two years of my course, speeding me through to become a qualified accountant with a world of opportunities to live and work abroad.

Upon joining PwC, all new joiners, graduates, school leavers and placement students such as myself are given the opportunity to study for one of the two globally recognised accounting qualification; ACCA or ICAEW. The learning styles for each qualification vary slightly which means that rather than being forced in one direction you have the freedom to choose the route which you feel best suits you.  I was impressed that PwC recognises people have diverse learning styles. When I arrived I was also surprised at the range of different subjects people had read at university from engineering to history to sociology. But I can now see how the diversity of experiences helps bring all sorts of knowledge and skills into the business. I chose ACCA for my study route as there are fewer exams in your first year than ICAEW, and being on my placement year I wanted to gain as much experience in the working environment as possible. That said I began my actual ACCA training with a taste of mock exams within the first two weeks. They are very testing, however as you are in the same boat as all your colleagues, and the more senior members of staff have all been there, everyone is very supportive during the learning stage. The good thing about studying whilst at work is you learn to apply knowledge you have learnt in the classroom on a daily basis at work, unlike say school or university where much of what you learn is pretty much irrelevant once you have a job. PwC offer secondment opportunities, within the PwC global network. This is a very popular option amongst people in Guernsey, it’s a great way to further develop professionally and see the world. Colleagues have worked in Australia, London and South Africa to name but a few.

There are lots of things which have made my first few months at PwC enjoyable. I didn’t expect there to be such a large intake of trainees when I joined, and I realised the number of staff who are training means it is a relatively young office. Everyone is very friendly and helpful if ever you get stuck or need help. I work in audit and assurance on a variety of different clients, and under different partners and directors, so each audit assignment I am involved in is different. I am also entrusted with a reasonable amount of responsibility, despite only just being through the door, which makes me feel more valued. Finally I have a fantastic social life with my colleagues, regularly going for drinks after work, or being involved in sports teams and events.

If you’re thinking about applying for a training position at PwC, whether it be with the tax or assurance team, the next intake is September 2013/14. From experience I would advise starting the application process as soon as possible as places can be filled quite early in the year.