Karen Marshall from Accenture
Karen Marshall, apprentice, education and engagement lead at Accenture shared the reasons for developing a degree apprenticeship and her experience of working with the University of Sunderland…
At Accenture we knew that we wanted to develop an apprenticeship programme. We thought it was really important to encourage as many young people as possible to work in the digital and tech industry and to have the opportunity of working in a massive global company like Accenture.
We knew we would need really highly-skilled young people and the best offer at the time was to give them the chance to do a degree. We looked around and we knew that the University of Sunderland were developing the latest degree apprenticeships. We also knew that they would work with us to make sure that the degree was designed to fit our business needs and to make sure that we could give the young people the best possible opportunity to be able to work and progress in Accenture.
Accenture is a growing global business and here at the Newcastle Delivery Centre we had tripled in size in five years and were continuing to grow. Being a global company we advertise vacancies and receive applications from all over the world, but we really wanted more local young talent to have this opportunity to work with us.
It’s a very important part of Accenture’s work, to reach out into the community where we work and live to give as many young people the opportunity to develop skilled careers. With the North East having high levels of young people not in employment or education or training we knew that there was definitely a talent pool that we could probably tap into and we felt that by offering degree apprenticeships we could really give young people the opportunity to compete shoulder-to-shoulder with any of our graduate recruits or any of our existing experienced hires.
We’ve worked really hard with the University of Sunderland, and with our capability leads and line managers, to make sure that we developed a flexible but really applicable degree programme that will ensure our degree apprentices are able to hit the ground running.
We want our apprentices to be able to complete work in all of the different projects that we have, so we’ve spent a lot of time making sure that the academic side is appropriate and will help them function in the workplace and they can see the relevance and application of their learning in the workplace.
We see a huge growth in the apprentices from day one right through to the end of their third year with us. You can definitely see the growth in their confidence. Last year we had 33 of our apprentices graduate and move into permanent roles at Accenture and within six months another three of those young people had been promoted again to a higher role, which is almost unheard of for any other type of graduate.
So we are really, really pleased with the success of the programme and how it’s helping our members of staff develop and
grow into more senior roles.
We have noticed the maturity that studying alongside working brings to the apprentices. They come to us fresh with ideas, their academic learning is then transferred into the workplace and we really benefit from that and many of them progress and go on to become leaders of their teams. They really enhance the work that we do.