By Daniel Hunter

Professional services firm KPMG is launching a new apprenticeship programme based in its Canary Wharf offices in London, within its Risk Consulting practice.

There will be 20 places on the scheme initially, which will start in October 2012. A three year programme, applicants can opt either to work and study towards an accounting qualification with the Association of Accountant Technicians (AAT) or towards a technology qualification.

At the end of the three years, apprentices will be able to elect to continue their studies (for example, to take full chartered accountancy exams) or follow another career path in KPMG.

Risk Consulting is the fastest growing area in KPMG in the UK (with revenues up over 40 percent in the 2011 financial year), and consists of four main areas: Financial Risk Management; Forensic (fraud investigations); Technology; and Accounting Advisory Services.

The programme will sit alongside and complement KPMG’s other programmes aimed at school leavers. Last year, KPMG launched a new School Leavers Programme, a six year programme which offers work experience, an accounting degree with all tuition fees paid, and a chartered accountancy qualification.

As well as being of shorter duration, KPMG’s new Risk Consulting Apprenticeship scheme has lower entry requirements than the School Leaver programme. A minimum of BCC at A level is required (compared to ABB for the School Leaver programme).

“As a firm, we want to do everything we can to attract bright and talented individuals, whatever background they are from," Paul Taylor, COO of KPMG’s Risk Consulting practice, said.

"We recognise that university is not right for everyone and so are delighted to be able to offer this opportunity for bright young people to gain a professional qualification with us whilst also earning a competitive salary. The qualification that the apprentices will gain should stand them in excellent stead for a rewarding career.”

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