Ernst & Young Global is a British multinational professional services partnership headquartered in London. EY is one of the largest professional services networks in the world and along with Deloitte, KPMG and PwC, is one of the Big Four accounting firms.

  • In 2021, EY’s tech consulting student recruitment team partnered with skills-based hiring and talent mobility solutions firm Cappfinity to help develop an EY Internship of the Future. A ‘first-of-its-kind’ virtual reality programme for 19 diverse tech interns, it spanned five weeks of a fully immersive experience that “increases emotional brand engagement and improves retention” with a true-to-life job preview experience.
  • The VR Internship of the Future aims to promote a better wellbeing brand. In VR, interns can learn about sustainability and the wider work of EY, undertake competitions with peers using fun and immersive games, as well focus on their own health and well-being in a completely virtual world. This culminates in the intern being able to build their confidence to ‘pitch’ their client solutions to a group of senior leaders in EY – having prepared their solution with their peers, buddies and mentors.
  • As a result of the internship experience, 92% said their understanding of EY had improved and 100% of tech interns said their understanding of client projects had improved. Also, 92% said the internship had made them want to learn more and 100% of all interns were more confident attending meetings than before.
  • The summer internship and VR experience is about shifting perceptions of EY. In 2021, 50% of EY offers of employment either declined or reneged against a market average of 20%. However, the VR initiative has drastically reduced these risks, demonstrated by returns on the 19 summer interns at EY: none have declined the opportunity offered, and all were due to start in September 2023.

Judges’ comments

“The excellent metrics supporting the entry about the virtual internship programme meant EY had to be the winner. It confronted its challenge to compete with big tech brands and did so in a way that was inclusive as well as leading edge and engaging. It was good to see the equality and diversity agenda living outside of its box, being in evidence throughout the programme. The metrics prove it was clearly a compelling and enjoyable experience for candidates, and it has moved the dial in enabling the consultancy to compete with big tech brands.”