On 10 July 2019, was the end of a fantastic career inspiring programme for fourteen Year 10 Students. Back in October, the students October 2019, these students began their experience programme with PWC, the multinational professional services network. It is the largest professional services firms in the world, and is one of the Big Four auditors, along with Deloitte, EY and KPMG.
The first time we went to the PwC classroom at the Birmingham branch, the group were welcomed with a helpful greeting allowing the students to socialise with the other students from various schools as they conversed about what they expected from this experience. When the presentations began the students were introduced by a Senior Member of the PwC firm who guided the group through what the firm stands for and the principles they are built upon; excellence, teamwork and leadership.
The group also got to hear from various staff members who varied from different sectors of the firm, from Senior Partners, Tax Consultants, HR staff and to Graduates and students have secured a PwC apprenticeship scheme! They all spoke to the group about potential career paths and what it is like to be a part of the PwC family, this gave the students hope that there is always a suitable path route that they can follow regardless if they choose if the academic route or if they can secure the apprenticeship route.
The group learnt about professionalism, networking and personal brand. This will hopefully assist students in their day to day lives as they will no doubt come across many scenarios where they will have to use these skills to initiate conversation.
Students were also taught about social styles, personal styles and how to give presentations. They also participated in a small group activity where they had to make a tower out of spaghetti, masking tape and a marshmallow. This task helped students acquire and further develop team-building skills. People are different and often approach things in different ways, one important skill in teamwork is learning to recognise this and embracing different approaches and merge ideas together to create a working powerhouse, this is something that our students did so well and were commended so highly by the PwC staff members for their continual contributions to all these sessions.
Through presentations and group work challenges, the students learned how important it is to network as it improves social skills and helps gain further knowledge. Students were thrown out of their comfort zones where they had to engage in walking around the room and talking to various PwC staff and learn things about them. The students also learned that it’s not only the things they say that can have an impact on what people think about them but also the way in how you greet them, shake their hand and the way they present themselves. Personal impact and first impressions count! Hopefully, these are all skills that the students need when going in for job interviews as well as job/university interviews.
On the last day they took part in an "Escape Room Challenge" where they had to use their problem-solving skills and team working to get clues for completing a given objective, the time target they were given to beat was by Senior Members of PwC staff, our student beat the PwC staff to crack the code and "escape" (the time to beat was 27mins, the students beat the PwC staff). Hopefully, this has created a unique memory for the students!
Feedback from the staff at PwC said the following:
"We have really enjoyed meeting your pupils, working with them and seeing them engage so well in each of the five sessions! From the feedback we gather at the end of each session, we are glad that the pupils seemed to enjoy the sessions and felt they developed their skills and business awareness."
All in all, I am hoping that our students are more courageous in starting a formal informative conversation, as I know how they can present and carry themselves well, due to the teaching of the PwC classroom sessions. Our students have also gained high-level confidence as well as a greater understanding of how to communicate with different people regardless if they are in a senior position to people who are on an apprentice level. This is an outstanding achievement for our students who have now officially graduated from the PWC classroom programme!