PwC’s first Higher Apprentices graduate

PwC Australia’s first cohort of Higher Apprentices have officially completed their studies, graduating with a nationally recognised qualification and 18 months of invaluable on-the-job experience.

At a ceremony held in Sydney, around 20 Apprentices including four who work with Skills for Australia, were presented with their Diploma of Business in front of family, friends, colleagues and representatives from Tafe NSW and the Department of Industry.

Skills for Australia CEO Sara Caplan congratulated the Apprentices on their effort and commitment to their studies and their work.

“Working full time, while studying, is no mean feat and I am so proud of the achievements of our Higher Apprentices in the last 18 months,” Ms Caplan said.

“The Higher Apprenticeship initiative marks a new era for the firm and for the future of work in Australia.

“I am so excited to see even more forward-thinking employers embrace the Higher Apprentice model, and give Australians the skills they need to get a job, or a better job.”

Higher Apprentice and Skills for Australia team member Rob Munday said he applied to be part of the program in 2017 because he was interested in pursuing a career in business but wanted to learn in a hands-on, practical way.

“This opportunity has enabled me to gain rich workplace experience, and develop my business skills and general soft skills. The Diploma of Business has also underpinned this by providing fundamental business knowledge.

“I would recommend this program to anyone who, like me, prefers to learn by getting hands-on experience.”

Skills for Australia’s Ryan McLean, Rachel Chambers, Rob Munday, Sara Shulman and Philip Le Feuvre (L-R)

Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education Senator Michaelia Cash joined the ceremony via video message, and said the Higher Apprentices and Traineeships Pilot led by PwC was a fantastic example of how the VET sector is responding to changes in the economy and the workplace.

“It is an example of how our VET sector continues to foster quality and excellence and provides industry with VET qualified graduates that are job-ready from day one – to ensure Australia has a pipeline of skilled workers for our next generation,” Minister Cash said.

“We know why apprenticeships work, and why they are such a successful and enduring training model… it’s because apprentices are employed, earning while they are learning and their training is strongly linked to their job and the skill needs of their employer.

“To our Higher Apprentices, business partners and training organisations who have worked with PwC on this pilot – well done… you have all been trailblazers of a new an innovative approach to meet the challenges of today and in the future.”

The Higher Apprenticeship Pilot is the first of its kind in Australia, as part of a progressive roll-out of reforms in the vocational education sector.

The program enables individuals to undertake a nationally recognised qualification at Diploma level or above, while earning a wage and is a pathway designed to get people either into a job, or transition to a new role.