Dramatic rise in recruitment of ‘driven’ non-graduates

As A-level results were opened across the country last week, we analysed our recruitment data and found that the number of trainees joining without degrees has risen by 26% since 2014.

What is behind this? We credit measures by the government to encourage going straight to work from A-levels, partly through steadily raising university tuition fees and by encouraging apprenticeships, for the surge. We expect the trend to continue.

Paul Hopkins, Human Resources Director for BKL, commented: “We’ve seen a turning of the tide. More and more people are applying for careers with us without a degree, and we’ve been delighted with the quality of our non-graduate applicants.

“They are bright and motivated to begin and develop their career. We’re finding that when students have made a conscious decision to begin work, they are very driven and join with the right approach.

“Traditionally selection was done through academic results, but that is no longer the case. We’re always open to the right people with the right qualities, including strength of mind, inquisitive thought, energy and collaboration, irrespective of whether they have been to university.”

Jon Wedge, partner at BKL, started his career with us following his A-levels.

Jon comments: “I faced a lot of pressure to go to university but I made an active decision not to go to do so. By taking an ‘alternative’ route into accountancy, I was able to get a wide range of real-life work experience and begin my career development much earlier than I would have done had I attended university.

“I’ve been able to progress at a firm that is accepting of people with different backgrounds and open to different ways of doing things.”

BKL recruits 15-20 trainees each year. Find out more about opportunities at BKL for school leavers and graduates.



Sam Inkersole

In 2022, Sam won the Taxation’s Rising Star award at the Taxation Awards in and was named in the Accountancy Age 35 Under 35.

Jon Wedge

While Jon’s client work focuses on the financial services sector, he also oversees the firm’s assurance service, as well as supporting the trainees following in his footsteps.


Elana joined us in 2017 as an ACA trainee, after graduating from Durham University where she had studied languages. She is now a manager in our assurance team.


By submitting this form, the data provided will be used to perform your request according to our privacy policy.