From chip shops to accountancy: not everyone follows the same path.

It was a great pleasure to welcome Sixth Formers from Heartlands Academy to the PwC offices in Birmingham City Centre. The group have been following our Advanced Programme during their tutor time on Wednesdays and have been chosen for the entrepreneurial flair and commitment they showed during a week-long challenge to launch a new fragrance.

The day was all about getting an insight into life at the UK’s top graduate recruiter, straight from the people who worked there. It was also the perfect moment to reflect on their own strengths and achievements and consider what the future would hold for them.

Having tested their own negotiation skills in our Moon Game challenge (choosing the best people to lead a new colony on the moon, based solely on their professions), the students thought hard about what they wanted to find out from the PwC volunteers joining them on the day. With note pads full of piercing questions like: ‘what have been the greatest challenges you have faced?’ or ‘did you get distracted by at University?’, the students were ready to grill our volunteers.

Presenting back on the most interesting or surprising things they found out, one team explained they did not expect volunteers to have started their working lives in completely different jobs like working in a chip shop or at ASDA. Another group was surprised to learn that not one of our volunteers knew exactly what they wanted to do when they were 17.

After lunch it was time to get personal. Students took their time to reflect on their own individual past achievements, skills and big goals. For some the aim was clear: their path would be a medical one or something in the creative industries. For others the criteria for success were broader; the ideal role would be something really niche and unique or it would be one where there was a lot of individual freedom to shape what you would do.

Bringing it all back to the competitive world of employment, students finished the day by putting together a personal profile which would excite universities or employers about them, their big goals and their skills.

My thanks go to all the students for the energy they brought to all the activities of the day and the PwC volunteers James, Faizaan and Paul for their openness and enthusiasm which made this such a great day.

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