Ernst & Young is ranked best apprentice employer

Professional services giant Ernst & Young has been voted the UK’s top company for apprenticeships and school leaver programmes, by a survey of young people already employed on such schemes.

The Big Four firm emerged ranked the top spot in the latest’s annual table of the best school leaver employers, which lists the highest ranking companies offering apprenticeships today, as well as offering an insight into the state of the training in the UK as new regulations take effect.

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Maggie Stilwell, Managing Partner for Talent in the UK and Ireland, EY, said’: “Our number one ranking is a great achievement and it demonstrates just how much our trainees and interns value their experience with us.

“We have invested heavily in our school-leaver programme since its launch three years ago, and a key part of that has been listening to and acting on feedback from our trainees, as well as involving them in shaping their own training and development.

“This not only helps us to stay competitive, but also ensures our trainees are prepared for a successful career in business.”

The research, compiled by RateMyApprenticeship lists the highest ranking companies offering apprenticeships today, as well as offering an insight into the state of the training in the UK as new regulations take effect.

EY has over 100 young people employed on its training programmes at any one time and has been chosen thanks to reviews from students, which measure everything from how valued they feel in the company to how much they earn.

Unilever enters the table for the first time at number two (141 programmes) and number three is completed by investment company Fidelity Worldwide Investment, which has 200 people employed on its training schemes.

Ollie Sidwell, co-founder of, commented: “The Top 60 Employers Table is a great chance to celebrate and reward those companies that are leading the way in this area and really providing opportunities for the next batch of talent, across the UK. In the last year EY has demonstrated their commitment to their school leaver programmes and the benefit it has, not only to the company, but to their industry as well. EY has become a great role model for companies looking to do the same.”

The research shows that people want to see action being taken, with more than 50 per cent of parents and teachers agreeing that companies should be given compulsory targets for the number of under-25 apprentices they take on.

When asked who has the most responsibility for recruiting young people on to the various work-based training schemes, 32 per cent of pupils, 50 per cent of parents, 44 per cent of teachers and 48 per cent of businesses said that this responsibility lies with employers.

However, it isn’t just businesses that need to be doing more; there was also an agreement from parents, students, employers and teachers that schools are not currently doing enough to inform pupils about non-traditional routes into employment (51 per cent).

The research also showed that 59 per cent of the public believe that recent moves to give apprenticeships and related schemes the same status as university degrees will lead to a general rise in their success in attracting school leavers.

Sidwell added: “The latest apprenticeship report from IPPR suggests that apprenticeship figures have become heavily skewed towards older workers – as the UK’s voice for student apprentices, this is shocking. A quota on the number of under-25s on company programmes would help raise the bar, but it shouldn’t be seen as a tick list process.

“Targets could be a good way of ensuring that all school leavers have the opportunity to choose the path that’s right for them. Eventually this broadening of choice could mean that more women and those from ethnic minorities will end up in the boardrooms of the UK’s top companies and everyone can play a part in making this a viable option for young people.

“Young people now have more opportunities than ever to make an excellent start in the world of work and they can do so in the knowledge that non-academic routes are no longer seen as the poorer cousin of traditional degrees”.

Those included in the Top 60 Employers Table have been drawn from over 2,500 reviews written by students. The table ranks organisations that have at least 10 reviews on the website.  

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