Degree course to improve on diversity levels

PwC Leeds anchor the Central Square scheme
PwC Leeds anchor the Central Square scheme
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A new degree designed to give young people access to a career in technology has been developed by professional services giant PwC to be delivered through the University of Leeds and the University of Birmingham.

The degree course is a fully-funded apprenticeship programme designed to give more young people from a broader range of backgrounds the opportunity to get into a career in technology.

In what will be one of the first and largest example of the new Level 6 Degree Apprenticeships in action, it will see its students classed as PwC employees from day one.

Participants will receive a salary throughout and at the end of the programme they will come away with a degree in Computer Science and a job at PwC, provided they meet performance criteria.

The degree is launched after the firm conducted research which reveals that over two thirds of British chief executives find it difficult to recruit people with digital skills that at a level higher than their global peers.

The ability to recruit women with these skills is particularly challenging, with recent data showing only 27 per cent of female A-level and university students would consider a career in technology compared to 62 per cent of males.

PwC Leeds, pictured in their new offices. Leeds. Skyline. Leeds Town Hall.'7th September 2016.'Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

PwC Leeds, pictured in their new offices. Leeds. Skyline. Leeds Town Hall.'7th September 2016.'Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

The move follows a growing trend in professional services and in the legal sector to increase the diversity of their workforces, something shown time and time again by research to improve performance levels.

Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner at PwC, said: “For the UK to prosper post-Brexit we need to invest in creating a vibrant tech sector right across the country and more people with the skills needed to help businesses transform.

“The demand for technology advice is rapidly increasing, while the pool of available tech talent is shrinking and could be impacted further by Brexit.

“To meet these challenges we need to be even more innovative in the way we develop skills and recruit people. Our new technology degree apprenticeship is an exciting new way for us to start to grow the future of the UK’s technology industry at a much earlier stage and to open up these careers to a wider range of students from across the country.”

Professor Peter Jimack, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Leeds, said: “Deepening the relationship between universities and leading private sector businesses is one of the key ways academia can support the UK’s economy.”

The course is due to commence in September of next year. For more information visit www.pwc.co.uk/careers/school-jobs.