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Will future contractor accountants skip university altogether?

Will future contractor accountants skip university altogether?

The Big Four accountancy firms seem to be turning their back on university graduates and focusing on developing training programmes for A level graduates, according to a recent article in the Guardian.

Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PwC have all now established training courses designed for school leavers.

Next year, tuition fees at university could reach as high as £9,000 a year and it would appear that employers expect fewer bright students to take traditional university courses. A five or six year training course with a leading UK consultancy firm could be viewed as an attractive alternative to anyone seeking a career in accountancy.

In order to be considered for one of these schemes, applicants would be expected to have 300 UCAS points, which is the equivalent of three A-Level ‘B’ grades. However, competition is likely to be fierce and higher grades may be necessary.

Ernst & Young’s head of graduate recruitment, Stephen Isherwood, said the firm may extend its training programme for school leavers if demand continues to rise. Students now have to carefully consider their options after A-levels and university is not the only option available, he added.

Employers across the board seem to be looking more at personality traits than qualifications when it comes to taking on entry-level graduates.

RSM International surveyed 500 business leaders across Europe and discovered that 81% considered enthusiasm, confidence and an entrepreneurial spirit as important attributes. Only one in five said the most important attribute was a good academic degree. The ability to diversify and creativity were also thought of as key traits, whilst the willingness to take risks was not ranked highly.

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