PwC has given 100 first year university students the chance to showcase their skills with a clear route to a full time role on the firm's graduate programme.
Throughout an intensive three-day business school, The PwC Talent Academy this week, students took part in a series of group tasks running a fictitious company, tackling three separate real world business scenarios to demonstrate and test their employability skills. The UK internship market is dominated by second, third year and postgraduate opportunities, making PwC's Talent Academy a rare opportunity for first year undergraduates to learn about business in action. Students on this year's Academy were surveyed on their views on employability and their job prospects.
Results showed 75% felt that the extensive media coverage announcing there are few graduate job opportunities made them more anxious to start building their CV early and 98% said they have taken part in other internships before now, highlighting how future graduates are actively taking steps to get on the career ladder even before University.
All the students said they intend to take on further internships for the remainder of their time at university to strengthen their attractiveness to employers.
Almost all (97%) said they are conscious about differentiating themselves from other candidates by doing extracurricular activities, such as taking on a position of authority, joining a university society, or taking on voluntary work.
Sonja Stockton, director of recruitment, PwC, said: "Applying for a job can actually begin years before sending off a CV or filling out an application form. Volunteering, positions of authority and working in the wider community are all ways students are becoming more strategic in building their experiences, galvanising their CVs and getting onto their chosen career path. School and college students need to be savvier and think more long-term about their broader experience because good exam results are no longer enough to be distinctive."
When asked to rank what they consider to be the most valuable quality to have in a business environment, the majority of students ranked social and communication skills as the most valuable skill to possess in a business environment; team work was ranked second; resilience and drive ranked third followed by commercial savvy.
Stockton added: "The graduates of tomorrow absolutely need to adopt a new set of skills and approaches in their approach to employment. In the past, having a degree was strong currency and some thought it was all you needed. But now with university being the academic pursuit of many, the value of a degree is perceived differently. It is vital that we develop relationships with students early on because graduates are the lifeblood of our business."
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