Give yourself a HEADstart - Lucy Le Brocq says that if you want to earn a competitive salary whilst studying for a qualification that unlocks doors to a wealth of career opportunities, then the PwC training programme could be your next step

I began working and studying with PwC in September 2011 after completing my A-Levels at Hautlieu.  I’d considered the possibility of studying at university, but decided it wasn’t for me so began to look into career options in Jersey. 

PwC’s HEADstart programme appealed to me as it offers you the opportunity to study on island for a professional qualification that’s valued by potential employers all around the world, whilst earning a good salary.

You can choose between two equally recognised qualifications, the main difference being the structure of learning. I chose ACA as it follows a more modular style, yet is more frontloaded with exams than the alternative option of ACCA, which has a similar structure to A Levels and offers the option of gaining a degree at the end.  In a little over a year I have already completed nine out of 15 exams and hope to have passed three more by January.

The exams are definitely not to be underestimated, yet despite being a challenge, juggling work and study isn’t as difficult as it may seem due to PwC’s strong emphasis on and support with how to maintain a work-life balance. You‘re supported throughout your studies and if you’re struggling with a particular concept you are surrounded by people who have been in exactly the same position when they were studying – there’s no shortage of help!

This year PwC took 33 graduates and school leavers onto their training programmes across Jersey and Guernsey. This means there are lots of people all going through the same ‘firsts’, which helps you get to know each other well, and build friendships quickly. If you work in assurance you are a part of a different audit team every few weeks, so you meet and work with new people further on in their studies, managers and even partners all the time. 

The job is all about teamwork and the offices have a really friendly social atmosphere.  PwC also organise a variety of social events throughout the year, including month end drinks, quiz nights, and Christmas and summer balls.

PwC also have many sporting teams such as football, touch rugby & netball, and host annual rugby and beach rugby tournaments in Guernsey and Jersey. If there is a sport that you play which we don’t currently offer, then all you have to do is organise it!

In terms of gaining experience, since joining PwC, I have worked on various different clients with different teams of people in the office. PwC has a number of high profile, world renowned clients and you will have plenty of opportunities to work with and learn from some of the best in their fields. The work is very varied and being based out of the office at clients’ offices much of the time, no two days are the same.

Along with the many other benefits that come with working for a large global organisation like PwC are the various secondment and transfer opportunities available to you once you qualify. With secondments this means you can get the security of staying within the PwC network of firms, but experience working and living potentially wherever you want to in the world, We have recently had people take up opportunities overseas in New York, Boston, London, Australia and Singapore

Our vacancies for the 2013 intake are already filling up and we have even started recruiting for 2014. Some people take the opportunity to apply now, secure themselves a job for the future so they can take a gap year with confidence they’ll be coming back to a stable income and the start of a great career. If you are interested my advice would be to just get your application in early.

If you’re not yet convinced that this would be the right choice for you then you could apply for one of our work experience placements or come along to our Christmas drinks event on 19 December which is a great opportunity to talk to people working at PwC in lots of different roles. Both these options will certainly give you a good taster of what PwC is all about and hopefully make your decision for you.

Entering the working world straight from school has been a challenging yet exciting experience, however, I feel that in no way have I been disadvantaged by choosing a direct route to a professional qualification rather than gaining a degree first. 

Whether you’re a graduate or a school leaver, with or without maths or accounting experience, this is a fantastic opportunity not to be missed. Go on, get a HEADstart. You won’t regret it.