The Australian arm of PwC will let some candidates bypass university and begin working straight from high school as it continues to explore alternative talent pipelines.
"The future of work is changing and we're looking to hire the skills of the future, not the degrees of the future,” talent acquisition director Julie Duncan told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Due to be launched next month, the “higher apprenticeship” pilot program will allow school-leavers to gain a business diploma while working alongside graduate employees in core company areas.
Approximately 250 students are expected to participate in the pilot but Karen Andrews – assistant minister for vocational education and skills – said it has the potential to encompass thousands of candidates in the future.
The 18-month program has already received praise from the government and school career advisers who say the initiative could help reduce student debt levels and increase opportunities for disadvantaged job seekers.
Duncan said school-leavers will receive the same pay as other non-graduate employees, including trainees who are completing university degrees while they work.
"They'll have exactly the same career progress as their graduate and non-graduate peers," she said. "That includes students who choose not to go to university, can't afford to or just don't know what they want to do."
The PwC program is modelled on a similar scheme which the company has operated in UK for more than a decade – at least five other major firms are expected to participate in the program.
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