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PwC NI: Why we need to invest in our young people’s tech talents early

  • Written by Stephanie Gowdy Student Recruitment Lead, PwC NI

    Stephanie Gowdy discusses PwC’s approach to developing the technology experts of tomorrow.

    As the PwC landscape continues to evolve so too does our need for tech-savvy talent who can confidently support our digital transformation - both for our clients and for our people.

    And it’s not just ensuring we are successful as a firm: as digital skills become critical for workplaces, we feel we have a responsibility to support people right across society to play their fullest part in the future of work. And these goals have given us the opportunity to become incredibly creative about how to achieve it.

    PwC has shown a phenomenal passion to develop the technology experts of tomorrow and the creation of a Level 6 Technology Apprenticeship - a BEng degree in Software Engineering with Digital Technology with Queen’s University Belfast, was the catalyst. The model complements PwC's recruitment methods of bringing graduates into its Tech business but does so at a much earlier stage in their academic career, when they are post-A level.

    The first of its kind in Northern Ireland, it challenges traditional on/off-thejob and day-release models. Fully funded, covering fees and providing a salary from day one, our apprentices get to experience university life with placements at the firm during summer. At the end of the course, they’ll be offered a graduate job. It’s a different learning model and work experience programme, and in years 3 and 4, students have the opportunity to study for one semester with longer placements of nine months which gives them a more immersive experience in the business.

    This model is also having a transformational impact on the people who are getting involved in tech. By providing a funded course, it’s accessible to all and it’s also encouraged women to consider a career in tech at a much earlier stage. Women currently make up 35% of the PwC/QUB Tech degree, which is more than double the national average of c16% females who consider studying a tech-related degree.

    Working alongside programmes such as mTech.Academy, Sentinus and Belfast IT girls and offering PwC specific programmes such as Digital Insight Week and Females of the Future, our approach has helped create awareness around options available for women and also provides a platform to showcase some of our fantastic role models - one of whom has been shortlisted for the Department for the Economy’s Higher Level Apprentice of the year award. For the third year in a row, PwC is delighted to offer 20 spots on the degree programme.

    It’s so important that we continue to invest in talent early and make sure we shout out to parents, teacher, and students that these routes are available, that they really are free and a fantastic introduction to a future career in tech in NI. For more information, get in touch with our Student Recruitment team.

    This article first appeared in the Women in Tech special edition of the Sync NI magazine. You can download a FREE copy here. 

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