Assured progress

Early in his career in financial services, academic high-flyer Drew Williams (OE 2005-12) is already making his mark on the national stage.

Drew was shortlisted for the national Apprentice of the Year title, having been nominated for the award by his firm, Ernst & Young. EY has also made him a Student Ambassador, a role that involves him in promoting its School Leaver Programme and speaking to prospective students.

Drew has followed an unusual path for a 21st-century Elizabethan: he gained straight A* grades in his four A-levels, but opted not to take up the place he was offered at Durham University. Instead, he joined EY’s four-year School Leaver Programme, specialising in Banking and Capital Markets. In addition to his day-to-day work in EY’s Assurance division, he is given time to study for his ACA chartered accountancy qualification.

A popular pupil, he was an outstanding sportsman at School. He captained the First XV rugby team in his final year and while in Year 12 was the First XI wicket-keeper when the QE tourists convincingly won the Read Trophy on their visit to Lancashire. He took A-levels in Mathematics, Economics, History and Politics.

"What I enjoy most about the EY programme is the emphasis on practical experience gained through working for various clients," says Drew. "Exam preparation is a combination of 'block release' to study courses and a lot of home-learning, which can be difficult to balance with full-time work. There are also regular in-house courses focusing on best practice. Additionally, I enjoy the role of Student Ambassador."

In an interview, he told the London Metro newspaper, Drew said: "I knew at School that I wanted to go into financial services. Since starting at EY, I have gained an appreciation of just how respected the ACA qualification is. The other skills I have learned, such as teamwork, communication and time management will stand me in good stead for my career." He is thoroughly enjoying his career so far and, although he did not win the Apprentice of the Year title, he attended the awards ceremony with the other nine shortlisted candidates at the Grosvenor Hotel. The ceremony was hosted by TV celebrity Jonathan Ross and was "a great experience," says Drew.