Skip to content ↓
News & Events

Is University for Everyone? Apprenticeship Success for budding accountant at Rendcomb College

The debate around career paths and “Is University for Everyone?” could take up pages of discourse with strong arguments both for and against. One of the things we really pride ourselves on at Rendcomb College is developing pupils to become Thoughtful, Adventurous and Ambitious. 

The debate around career paths and “Is University for Everyone?” could take up pages of discourse with strong arguments both for and against. One of the things we really pride ourselves on at Rendcomb College is developing pupils to become Thoughtful, Adventurous and Ambitious. 

Rendcomb College offers a comprehensive Sixth Form Enrichment programme to all students, as well as numerous other extracurricular activities. This encourages students to become independent thinkers, to build resilience and to follow their passion, regardless of whether it leads them to higher education or not.

University isn't for everyone and doesn't necessarily lead to a job or better career prospects for all students.

The lure of university – especially when it is free, as in Scotland – can make it seem like the only route to a good job and career. But too often, those who do sign up find themselves struggling with both their studies and life in general. It’s estimated that around 40 per cent of students drop out in their first year.

It was no surprise then when Ollie, currently in Year 13, announced that he had secured an apprenticeship place at Hazlewoods LLP, one of Gloucestershire’s leading accountancy firms.

Chris in our marketing team sat down with Ollie to see how he came to be selected for the position, as well as gaining his thoughts on career pathways after Sixth Form.

So Ollie, tell me a bit about your time at Rendcomb College?

"I started at Rendcomb College in the Lower Sixth, having previously attended a state secondary school. I was really impressed with the facilities and level of opportunities that the school offers to pupils. There is literally everything here! My favourite subject is Business Studies, and although I wasn’t particularly sporty, I really got into rugby and now enjoy playing on the wing for the first XV."

What made you decide to do an apprenticeship instead of going to University?

"After receiving advice from a number of people that University isn’t the only pathway out of school, I wanted to explore all the options that were available to me, whilst not ruling out going to Uni. As Business Studies is what I was most interested in, my research lead me to realise that I could gain valuable real world experience, whilst gaining qualifications and not getting into debt by doing an apprenticeship."

How did you hear about Hazlewoods?

"Part of my business course was to do work experience, and as I had family and friends that had worked at Hazlewoods I applied there. Due to the pandemic I was unable to do the work experience, however it opened the door for me to research their apprenticeship course, and it turns out they have one of the best programmes in the county." 

What was the application process like?

"After I applied, I initially had a phone call with their HR department to see if I would be a good fit for the company. I then had to do some competency based tests on maths and general knowledge, followed by an online assessment centre with other candidates. After successfully passing those, I then had to have two interviews." 

"The first was with HR and then the other was with a senior partner. With the partner I had to deliver a presentation all about me and how I thought I’d be a good fit for Hazlewoods by aligning my interests with theirs. It was the first time I’ve ever given a presentation at that level, and it was quite daunting that I had so much riding on it! I must have done a good job, as not long after I received the phone telling me that I had been successful in becoming an apprentice in their Health and Care auditing section."

What does the future look like for you?

"My apprenticeship runs for 2 and a half years, however Hazlewoods also offer the option to carry on working with them to advance my career after I have qualified. I have a real affinity for maths and accountancy and I think this is just the first step in my career, doing something that I really enjoy and I am really excited for what the future holds."

What would you say to anyone considering joining Rendcomb College?

"Experience as much as you can, Rendcomb College provides students with vast facilities, so make sure you take advantage of the all the opportunities that Rendcomb College offers!"

Thanks Ollie, that was great!

What does the apprenticeship programme entail at Hazelwoods?

Chris also caught up with Becky Huntley from the Hazlewoods HR team specifically responsible for the apprenticeship programme to find out a bit about what the apprenticeship entails:

“We have around 500 applicants to our apprenticeship programme each year and take on around 40 which is usually a 50:50 split between School Leavers and University Graduates, so what Ollie has achieved is by no means an easy feat!

“At Hazlewoods we offer a Level 3 and 4 combined Apprenticeship and involves workplace and classroom based learning, both in the offices and at our study provider, First Intuition, who are located in Bristol. Also included are several skills days, built in to focus on a trainees professional development.”

Becky continues:

“Our key entry criteria are a Level 6 in Maths and English GCSE, and around 112 UCAS points from either A Levels or an equivalent level BTEC course."

 “We look for students with drive and determination who are excited to enter the world of accountancy! Whilst it is an incredibly rewarding career, it can be tough to juggle work life and revision at the same time, so we look for resilience and motivation. It also helps to have great team working skills and organisation."

 “When they start, an apprentice can expect to be working alongside more senior trainees and managers, and depending on the team they join, they could be visiting client sites and assisting with audits around the country. Sometimes this involves staying away from home which can be exciting in itself. No matter which team they become a part of, our apprentices attend college in Bristol for one day per week, which can be quite a social time as well, with some going out for drinks or food together at the end of the week."

“Once our Level 4 apprentices have completed their course, they are given the option to progress onto the Level 7 Apprenticeship, equivalent to a Masters course. During this stage, trainees will complete their Chartered exams to become a fully qualified accountant. Following this, we encourage professional development and progression at Hazlewoods, and would hope to see our trainees climb the ladder and further their career with us.” 


Rendcomb College is a co-educational day and boarding school for ages 3-18 set in the heart of the Cotswolds.

For more information visit our website: