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Grant Thornton shares essential skills for successful job interviews

We love celebrating our employers. Thank you to Grant Thornton UK LLP’s Birmingham office, for coming in to teach essential job interview skills to our Level 2-4 AAT students (Association of Accounting Technicians). It provided a great glimpse into the working world.

Grant Thornton UK LLP is one of the world’s largest international assurance, tax and advisory firms – and the company is also a social mobility champion, currently ranked number 2 in the Social Mobility Employer’s Index.

It’s all thanks to community collaborations (such as with our college) and the variety of pathways available for people, of all ages, to join the firm: from university graduates, school leavers, and apprenticeships, to internships and 12 month placements.

“Accounting is actually quite diverse,” said Cara Pickering, Tax Associate at Grant Thornton. “A massive amount of value can be gained from hiring people of different socio-economic backgrounds, races and cultures and countries. From a social mobility standpoint, there’s no need to think your background would hold you back in joining Grant Thornton and these kinds of firms.”

The idea of a career in finance being just for university graduates is an old one. So, this was a great opportunity for our college students to get an edge in joining the industry. Applying for jobs is a skill in itself, and with tech changing so rapidly it’s important to stay sharp.

Students got a workshop about Grant Thornton’s application process and what they look for in potential new hires, such as commercial awareness, analytical thinking, a drive to succeed and being a good communicator.

Feedback from the students involved was very positive, especially for the role-play job interviews. Many had never done an interview in a professional setting and were not aware of the type of questions normally asked. And some found the feedback and advice on how to communicate and present yourself in an interview setting extremely helpful.

Getting to play an interviewer also helped with potential stress. It showed that the interviewer is human and just wants you to succeed, too. Our students were excited about the prospects.

“A career in finance isn’t just for accountants,” said Cara after the workshop. “If you’re very analytically minded and you like maths, the accounting side might be for you. If you’re a people person, a problem-solver, you might be an advisor. We also have people that look after the firm itself, such as human resources, people who work on improving our social mobility and people who work on the wellbeing of our people. Who you are can help you find your role.”

John Coates, Partner, Grant Thornton UK LLP, said: “Grant Thornton shares a similar passion to South & City College Birmingham for supporting and creating opportunities for young people of all backgrounds in their careers. I’m part of the College’s Employee Board that aims to strengthen ties between the college and the local business community. Colleagues and I also recently supported the faculty’s Industry Week, providing interview skills sessions for a number of the learners, as well as judging a Dragon’s Den style event. Working with the college has proven hugely rewarding so far – it’s so important that employers, such as our firm, are investing in the local community and working with young people to instil confidence and build awareness of the working world as they start to think about their future careers.”

Thanks to John, Jess, Sree, Rahala, Cara and Raj. South & City College Birmingham look forward to working more with Grant Thornton to bring out the best in Birmingham’s brilliant youth.

Are you an employer like Grant Thornton keen to do important work for young people with South & City College Birmingham? Head to our Employers page or contact our Employer Services Team.

To contact our Apprenticeships team directly, email or call 0121 659 5066.

Are you a potential student wanting to start your journey into the Finance industry with a course at our college? Head to our Business & Finance courses for more info.