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PwC welcomes 1,200 graduate recruits across the UK this week

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Professional services firm PwC is taking on 1,200 graduates this week into its offices across the UK.

The graduates faced stiff competition for a job, with each competing with 20 others to secure a job at the firm.

Some 22,000 people applied for all graduate roles starting this September, double the number who applied last year, out of a total of 33,000 applications for all graduate, A Level and internship programmes.

Among the new joiners are the first graduates of PwC's inaugural summer business school in 2008, which has coached students on employability during their university study, by offering business skills and paid internships during the first year summer holiday.

Of this year's intake, 223 are returning interns meaning that 18% of this autumn intake completed an internship scheme with the firm. Some 95% of interns are offered full time training roles.

Richard Irwin, PwC head of student recruitment, said: ??"The high number conversions from internships into full time roles represents great return on investment for our firm, and supports our belief that as a business the earlier we work with students, the more successful our recruitment, and their experience will be."

Many of these graduates are the first of the financial crisis' generation, who began to study at the height of the recession.

Irwin added: ??"The recession and financial crisis marked a shift in attitudes towards understanding more about employability with students getting work experience earlier, rather than just relying on the degree on their CVs to get their foot in the door for a job.

"Those who start building their work experience portfolio early on have a much better chance of securing the role of their dreams, and not being left in the frustrating position of post-graduation unemployment. ??"The massive increase in applications we've received this year shows that students are back in the game. They are realising that despite many saying otherwise, there are jobs out there with top notch training schemes and excellent prospects."

The graduates will join the firm across its tax, assurance, consulting, actuarial, legal, consulting and advisory practices. This year's intake includes, for the first time, 40 technology jobs. Trainees will join teams in information security and system testing, studying towards an IT qualification.

In the first week of joining, the graduates will be involved in welcome activities which are all designed to understand the firm's culture and give an overview of its brand values. A focus of the graduate induction this year is about sustainability, and the new joiners will participate in over 30 community volunteer projects across the UK in their first week, experiencing PwC's community programme at first hand.