NEW research has found 84 per cent of young apprentices in Scotland are enjoying their first experiences in employment.

According to a KPMG survey of 1000 students and new joiners, one third (33 per cent) revealed their experiences exceeded expectations, with 82 per cent feeling “strong connections” with colleagues. This sense of community was better than a third of respondents expected.

At KPMG in Scotland apprenticeship hires doubled from six to 12 between 2016 and 2017, emulating a UK-wide increase in apprentice numbers.

Catherine Burnet, senior partner at KPMG in Scotland, said: “It is great to see that so many respondents feel a connection with their colleagues, as it really does impact your ability to enjoy and get stuck into a new job. It is quite natural to be nervous when entering the workplace for the first time, but if employers provide support – as many already are – then individuals are much more likely to enjoy the process than first anticipated.

“There are many ways in which KPMG supports entry level recruits in their transition to full time employment. This includes learning and development programmes that broaden skills sets, helping with career path planning, and exposing new joiners to a range of business functions. By focusing on individual goals and skills, we hope to find the perfect fit for our new recruits.”

KPMG runs a number of training and entry programmes for young people, including KPMG360°, a rotational apprenticeship programme for school and college leavers. Apprentices “rotate” around different areas in the business, gaining invaluable insights, work experience and professional qualifications along the way, over three to six years.

Ryan Strachan, a 360° apprentice at KPMG, based at the firm’s office in Glasgow, said: “When I first joined KPMG in 2016, I was excited at the opportunity but also a little nervous, partly because I thought I would be one of the youngest in the office. As it turned out, you get taught by people from all levels of the business, from graduates to directors, and so you really get a sense of the diversity across the workforce, as well as the career opportunities available to you.

“The apprenticeship really stood out when I was looking at options after school, as you get to rotate around the business and learn about the many different professions at KPMG. I enjoy learning on the job, and although I’m only 18 months into my apprenticeship, I already have ambitions to stay at KPMG for the full six-year programme.”

Anna Brown, in her third year as a 360° apprentice at KPMG in Glasgow, said: “It can be quite daunting becoming an apprentice straight from school, as you see most of your friends heading off to university. I think some people have the wrong idea of apprenticeships, thinking they’re limited to construction-type work, but there are so many options out there now.

“I’ve always enjoyed being hands on, and from day one, you are speaking to clients.”