Boots is highest-ranking retailer in annual table of best school leaver employers


High street giant Boots is the highest-ranking retailer in’s annual table of the Top 60 Employers for apprenticeships and school leaver programmes.

Based on ratings and voted for by the people that matter the most – the young people already employed on those schemes – Boots comes in fifth place, with discount retailer Aldi just outside the top 10 at number 14 and supermarket giant Tesco in at 32.

The overall winner in the table is financial giant EY that has been chosen thanks to reviews from students that measure everything from how valued they feel in the company to how much they earn.

Maggie Stilwell, managing partner for talent in the UK and Ireland, EY, said: “Our number one ranking is a great achievement and it demonstrates just how much our trainees and interns value their experience with us.

“We have invested heavily in our school-leaver programme since its launch three years ago, and a key part of that has been listening to and acting on feedback from our trainees, as well as involving them in shaping their own training and development.

“This not only helps us to stay competitive, but also ensures our trainees are prepared for a successful career in business.”

Ollie Sidwell, co-founder of, said: “The Top 60 Employers Table is a great chance to celebrate and reward those companies that are leading the way in this area and really providing opportunities for the next batch of talent, across the UK. In the last year EY has demonstrated their commitment to their school leaver programmes and the benefit it has, not only to the company, but to their industry as well. EY has become a great role model for companies looking to do the same.”

Research commissioned to coincide with the league table demonstrates that the importance of apprenticeships and school leaver programmes is still high on the agenda.

The research shows that people want to see action being taken, with more than 50% of parents and teachers agreeing that companies should be given compulsory targets for the number of under-25 apprentices they take on.

When asked who has the most responsibility for recruiting young people on to the various work-based training schemes, 32% of pupils, 50% of parents, 44% of teachers and 48% of businesses said that this responsibility lies with employers.

However, it isn’t just businesses that need to be doing more; there was also an agreement from parents, students, employers and teachers that schools are not currently doing enough to inform pupils about non-traditional routes into employment (51%).

The research also showed that 59% of the public believe that recent moves to give apprenticeships and related schemes the same status as university degrees will lead to a general rise in their success in attracting school leavers.

Sidwell said: “The latest apprenticeship report from IPPR suggests that apprenticeship figures have become heavily skewed towards older workers – as the UK’s voice for student apprentice’s this is shocking. A quota on the number of under-25s on company programmes would help raise the bar, but it shouldn’t be seen as a tick list process.

“Targets could be a good way of ensuring that all school leavers have the opportunity to choose the path that’s right for them. Eventually this broadening of choice could mean that more women and those from ethnic minorities will end up in the boardrooms of the UK’s top companies and everyone can play a part in making this a viable option for young people.

“Young people now have more opportunities than ever to make an excellent start in the world of work and they can do so in the knowledge that non-academic routes are no longer seen as the poorer cousin of traditional degrees”.

Due to the increase in the availability of Apprenticeships, School Leaver Programmes, Sponsored Degree Programmes, Gap Year Programmes and Work Experience Schemes, RateMyApprenticeship has expanded its table of top employers from 30 last year to 60 in their latest table.

Those included in the Top 60 Employers Table have been drawn from over 2,500 reviews written by students. The table ranks organisations that have at least 10 reviews on the website.

For the full Top 60 visit:

Position in Top 60 Company
1 EY
2 Unilever
3 Fidelity Worldwide Investment
4 J.P. Morgan
5 Boots
6 Lloyds Banking Group
7 M&G Investments
8 PwC
10 National Grid