Professional services firm PwC has won the award for the best newcomer in the large employer category at the National Apprenticeship Awards.

Now in their 11th year, the awards celebrate the achievements of the country’s most outstanding apprentices and apprenticeship employers.

PwC was also recognised in the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list which is compiled annually by the National Apprenticeship Service in partnership with City & Guilds.

In the West Midlands the firm has hired 14 higher apprentices in the last three years and PwC was the first firm to launch a higher apprenticeship in professional services in 2012.

Students qualify at level 4, equivalent to the first rung on the higher education ladder, and have the opportunity to be operating at the same level in the organisation as their graduate peers after as little as two years.

Mark Smith, regional chairman at PwC in the Midlands, said: “We’re very proud of our higher apprentices scheme and we continually develop and invest in it so it remains market leading.

“Being the first professional services firm to offer higher apprenticeships has enabled us to attract and employ the best candidates from a wider pool than ever before.

“They have broadened the access gate to the professional services profession and are an exciting opportunity for employers to develop the business leaders of tomorrow and support our region’s growth.”