• An 11% increase in apprentices, trainees and school leavers joining the consulting sector 
  • More young consultants have never been to university than attended Oxbridge (7% versus 5% respectively) 

Apprenticeships in the consulting sector are expected to increase this year, according to the Management Consultancies Association (MCA), the trade association for management consultancy firms in the UK. The findings come ahead of National Apprenticeship Week which takes place 5th -11th February and is the annual celebration of apprenticeships. The management consulting sector has consistently seen an increase in apprentices joining the industry in recent years as firms aim to bring in new and diverse talent.  

The MCA Annual Industry Report 2023 revealed that 1,675 apprentices currently on programme across member firms. Recent MCA research has also shown that the consulting industry continues to be more accessible to talent from a varied mix of backgrounds. The percentage of young consultants who attended a Russell Group university is 35% compared to a peak of 73% in 2011. This is highlighted by only 5% of graduates from Oxbridge compared to 7% who said they did not attend university at all.  

Tamzen Isacsson, Chief Executive of the Management Consultancies Association, said: 

“The consulting industry is continuing its drive to recruit diverse young talent from across the UK irrespective of whether they have a traditional degree or not and it’s encouraging to see the number apprenticeship schemes increasing. As client demand continues to drive growth, the industry remains an attractive career option with world class training and development as well as professional recognition with the Chartered Management Consultant Accreditation (ChMC).”


Olivia Sullivan, a Degree Apprentice with MCA Member Firm, Arup and Apprentice of the Year at the MCA Awards 2023, said: 

During school and sixth form, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do, but I knew that the traditional university route didn’t appeal to me. My A-Level choices of Economics, Business and Sociology taught me the basics of the business world and the wider economic climate, and this is where I realised that the consulting world was an industry that really appealed to me.

“I would say to someone considering a career in consulting that it is an excellent sector to work in. It offers many development opportunities due to it being so vast and covering so many industries. This means that as your career develops, you can specialise in particular areas you feel you can add the most value. The consulting sector is one that is rapidly growing, and whilst technological advancements are shaping the way we work, the human side of consulting will never be replaced.” 

National Apprenticeship Week 2024 is the 17th annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships. The week brings together businesses and apprentices across the country to shine a light on the positive impact that apprenticeships make to individuals, businesses and the wider economy. The theme for National Apprenticeship Week 2024 is “Skills for Life” and aims to encourage everyone to consider how apprenticeships can help individuals to develop the skills and knowledge required for a rewarding career, and employers to develop a workforce with future ready skills.   

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