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KPMG offers funding for degree plus salary to recruits
January, 17th 2011

It probably could not get better than this - a 20,000-a-year salary plus study at Durham University for free, including free accommodation to boot.

The deal is on offer to school-leavers courtesy one of the biggest accountancy firms in the world. And the icing on the cake is 45,000 salary for the final year.

And at the end there is a guaranteed job at KPMG with the title of chartered accountant and with no strings attached by way of a contract to stay with the company.

According to analysts, the offer would attract any student daunted by the prospect of paying 9,000-a-year tuition fees. They add that the company's move at 200,000 a student is likely to set a new trend of employer-sponsored university degree.

KPMG aims to lure the 'best talent' by offering a chance to graduate with 'savings, not debt' the company said. The company will sign school-leavers on a six-year contract leading to a BSc in accounting and a full accountancy qualification.

UK universities minister David Willetts is encouraging other companies to come out with similar initiatives.

According to KPMG boss, Oliver Tant, for many students the debt they face is quite daunting and would discourage them from going to university. He said the company was providing them with a route that would enable them to avoid facing that challenge.

He said that provided they did not buy a Porsche they would come out of university with savings, not debt.

KPMG will offer the salaried course to up to 100 students at Durham University.

Tant said he was in the final stage of discussions to extend the programme to other 'top universities'. He denied any philanthropic motives to the move saying a UK skills shortage had made it hard to find recruits to compete in the global market.

The school-leavers' course is to start next September and the 100 students will, for the first four years, belong to a Durham college. The initiative would be expanded to 400 students at Durham.

To qualify for the offer applicants must get ABB in their A-levels and pass a series of rigorous interviews and tests, which will include days of role play, aptitude and psychometric tests.

The students would be at Durham for only ten weeks, which will include the first eight following which they will work for KPMG under the supervision of a mentor.

In the second and third years they would spend three months at Durham and nine at KPMG with the whole of the fourth year spent at the university as they finish their degree. The final two years would be spent at KPMG in London, Manchester or Birmingham in study towards the  chartered accountancy qualification.

KPMG rival, Deloitte, last month announced it would hire 100 recruits straight from school each year. Pricewaterhouse Coopers already has a scheme for 100 school-leavers each year but these schemes do not offer a tuition fee-free degree.


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