By Max Clarke

Deloitte, the leading business advisory firm, is stepping up its support for school leavers with the creation of 100 A-Level entry roles, in recognition that a university education may no longer necessarily be the most attractive option for many of the UK’s brightest students.

Deloitte announces plans to:

• hire 100 school leavers in 2011 with the launch of the Bright Start A-Level entry scheme;

• increase by 80% in Deloitte Summer Vacation Scheme to 240 places by 2012;

• to boost the number of places on its scholar scheme by 20%;

• Deloitte will also be hiring over 1,100 graduates in the year ahead.

John Kerr, managing partner for talent at Deloitte, commented: “We are launching Bright Start, an A Level entry scheme, to open up a route for 100 high achieving school leavers to join our firm in September 2011. We want to offer an alternative career path to bright students for whom university may not be the desired choice or an available option. We will provide the opportunity to embark on a career with exceptional prospects and to gain a full professional business qualification.

“The consequences of the recent Browne and Milburn reports aren’t yet fully understood, but two things are clear to us. Firstly, the UK needs to open up access to the professions to a much wider group of people and, secondly, the prospect of increasing tuition fees may make some very bright people think twice about going to university. Talent is the lifeblood of a business like ours and it is crucial that we do all we can to ensure that talented young people with the ability to succeed can find their way into Deloitte, whatever their background.”

The new scheme builds upon a successful programme under which some of Deloitte’s regional offices have hired a small number of school leavers in recent years.
Fiona Rowlett, an audit manager in Deloitte’s Cambridge office, commented: “I believe that joining Deloitte after my A Levels benefited me by giving me a fast track route to management at a younger age. It has also allowed me to achieve an internationally recognised accounting qualification without the burden of student debt which I would have incurred over 3-4 years at university.

Increased support for future graduates

Paul Stephenson, lead graduate recruitment partner at Deloitte, commented: “We are also expanding our help for future graduates by increasing the number of Summer Vacation Scheme places to 160 in 2011, up from 130 in 2010, and will increase this further in 2012 with a target of 240. This internship programme offers students going into their final year of university seven weeks of paid work experience in Deloitte’s Audit, Tax or Consulting business areas.

Our scholarship programme combines sponsorship and work experience, helping students to fund their degree and gain invaluable business skills. Demand for places is high, and we want to give more students the opportunity to benefit from it. Many of our scholars go on to join the firm’s graduate scheme.

“As one of the UK’s leading graduate employers, we will also hire over 1,100 graduates in 2011. This autumn, we took on over 1,000 graduates from over 70 different universities, and we are working hard to further extend our reach.”

Striving for greater social mobility

John Kerr continued: “We recognise we are only as good as our people, making it imperative that find different ways to identify and support the people who can make a difference to clients. These people are not defined by the school or university they attended or their social background.

“Scholarship schemes and internships can play a huge role in identifying and fostering talent at an earlier stage, but only if the places are awarded to students on merit. We are working hard to ensure that students from all schools and universities have equal opportunity to take advantage of our schemes.

“We have a major role to play in championing greater social mobility. We are making strenuous efforts, driven not only by a sense of responsibility, but also by the huge incentive of accessing the very best talent.”