Top UK employers for school & college leavers has revealed the finalists in its fourth annual ranking of the UK’s top employers for school and college leavers, ahead of its awards ceremony at London’s City Hall.

The shortlist, based on the real-life experiences of apprentices and school leaver trainees from 100 UK organisations, features high profile names from the professional services industry, the world of construction and engineering, retail giants like Marks & Spencer, broadcasting companies, and even city councils.

The one thing they have in common? They’ve all been nominated for their exemplary work in developing school leaver opportunities: Intermediate Apprenticeships, Advanced Apprenticeships, Higher Apprenticeships, the new Degree Apprenticeships, school leaver programmes and sponsored degrees.

Young people working in the school leaver training world were asked to complete employee satisfaction surveys, covering every aspect of their working lives, from job satisfaction and career progression, to company culture and work-life balance.

Four of the 29 categories were shortlisted by an industry panel made up of prominent figures in relevant organisations ¬ The Chartered Institute of Building, the Association of Graduate Recruiters, the National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural Skills, for example ¬ deciding on awards like the School or College Leaver of the Year award, and the Most Innovative School & College Leaver Recruitment Campaign award – recognising organisations’ forward thinking recruitment methods using modern techniques such as Whatsapp campaigns and online media.

Two of the 29 categories ¬ Best School & College Leaver Recruitment Website and Best Use of Social Media in a School & College Leaver Recruitment Campaign ¬¬ were judged by a student panel made up of a cross-section of the student database.

As well as awards for the Best Intermediate, Advanced and Higher Apprenticeships, this year has added a new Degree Apprenticeships category, recognising the new programmes, which were launched nationally in 2015.

Industry-specific categories will acknowledge the top employers in their particular fields for the first time this year, for example Top Employer ¬ Public Sector, Top Employer ¬ Engineering and Top Employer ¬ Creative Industries.

Jack Denton, director and co-founder of, said: “Its tough trying to figure out what you want to do with your life and many people never work it out. We think it’s one of the most important decisions in your life and would like to help as many young people as possible figure it out for themselves, in an impartial way. We don’t think there is a ‘best route’ to a career, rather a wide range of routes that each suit different individuals.

“Our awards, solely based on the opinions of the people currently participating in these training programmes, help other young people see which areas employers are excelling in, and who offers them the best opportunities. As our awards have grown over the last few years, we’ve realised how important it is to to make them easy to understand ¬ by adding new industry specific categories we’re helping young people identify the best employers in the sectors they are most interested in.”

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in London’s City Hall ¬ in the same room where Sadiq Khan’s victory in the London mayoral race was announced earlier this month ¬ on Thursday 26 May, sponsored by EY and Laing O’ Rourke.