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The University of Birmingham has reached an agreement in principle with professional services firm KPMG today [Monday 7 March] to join its ground-breaking school leavers’ programme, which will offer the complete package of University degree, professional qualification and relevant work experience. 

Under the scheme, students will enter onto a six year programme in which they will gain work experience at KPMG, take a BSc honours degree in Accountancy and Finance at the University of Birmingham’s Business School and gain a professional accountancy qualification – all this whilst also receiving a salary of around £20,000 (in London) and having all of their tuition fees and student accommodation paid for by KPMG.

It is anticipated that the University of Birmingham will offer 50 places initially on the scheme from September 2012 onwards.  Students who meet the A level entry requirements and successfully apply to do their degree at Birmingham will then study for the ICAS (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland) chartered accountancy qualification. 

KPMG envisages that in due course its school leaver programme may account for the majority (in excess of 400) of its annual trainee chartered accountant intake.  Birmingham joins the Universities of Durham and Exeter in being one of the three universities who will partner with KPMG to provide the programme.

Graham Neale, head of audit at KPMG in the Midlands, said:

“We are delighted that Birmingham, a top-class university, is planning to work with us in this scheme.  We believe that our proposition offers a truly innovative model that will help to broaden access to the accountancy profession.  We want to increase the diversity of the intake into the profession and this scheme is central to our plans to make that happen.  At a time when the affordability of higher education is uppermost in many people’s minds, this scheme clearly offers an alternative route that should see students emerge not only with first class qualifications but also a positive bank balance.  We very much look forward to working with Birmingham to make the scheme a success.”

Professor Edward Peck, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Social Sciences from the University of Birmingham said:

“This programme will be a truly attractive prospect for those keen to pursue a successful career in accountancy, as it provides the ideal combination of a rigorous academic grounding through our Accountancy and Finance degree with relevant and consistent work experience at a world-leading firm. 

“I’m delighted that agreement in principle has been reached that the University of Birmingham will be one of three universities to provide this programme. The full proposal for this new programme is currently being developed for approval, and I’m sure that places on the scheme will be in high demand given the complete package on offer."

David Willetts, the Minister for Universities and Science, said:

“I welcome the expansion of this innovative scheme, which has already proved very popular among prospective students.  Improving social mobility is at the heart of the Government’s agenda, and providing new routes to the professions is an excellent way of helping people reach their full potential.  So I congratulate KPMG on the expansion of this exciting initiative.”

Professor Andrew Lymer, Head of the Department of Accounting and Finance at the Birmingham Business School, said:

“As a School we have strong relationships with many large employers of our graduates. In particular, we have a longstanding relationship with KPMG as one of our key recruiters. This new programme however, takes forward this relationship in providing a unique opportunity to the next generation of accounting students at a critical time in the history of provision for undergraduate degrees. It is a unique offering in this field in the UK and we are therefore confident it will enable us to continue to attract the very best students to Birmingham to study for an accounting and finance degree.” 

The University of Birmingham is one of three universities in the UK that intend to partner with KPMG on the School Leavers Programme.  Durham and Exeter Universities will open their programmes for entry from September 2011, Birmingham will open for entry in 2012.

The full proposal for this new programme is currently undergoing full programme approval and consideration by the University of Birmingham.

Prospective applicants for KPMG’s scheme can find out more at

Media enquiries to:

Rachel Burrows, Head of Communications, University of Birmingham

tel: 0121 414 6681 / mob: 07789 921165 / email:

Julie Marshall, KPMG Corporate Communications, West Midlands

tel: 0121 232 3177 / mob: 07887 633677 / email:

About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, is a subsidiary of KPMG Europe LLP and operates from 22 offices across the UK with nearly 11,000 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a turnover of £1.6 billion in the year ended September 2010. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. We operate in 150 countries and have more than 138,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  KPMG International provides no client services.

About the University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham is a truly vibrant, global community and an internationally-renowned institution, in the top 100 globally. With approximately 28,000 students and 6,000 members of staff, its work brings people from more than 150 countries to Birmingham.

A member of the Russell Group of 20 leading UK research-intensive universities, in the last Research Assessment Exercise 2008, 90% of the University’s research was identified as having global reach, in terms of originality, significance and rigour. 

The University welcomes more than 5,000 new students each year, and is one of the top six universities targeted by major companies when they’re recruiting graduates.

The University contributes £662 million to the City of Birmingham and £779 million to the West Midlands region, with an annual income of more than £462 million.

The Birmingham Business School at the University of Birmingham was the country’s first Business School.  Established in 1902, it appointed the UK’s first Professor of Accounting in the same year. 

The Business School’s MBA was recently positioned 11th in the UK, 20th in Europe and 68th in the world, according to the 2011 Global Financial Times MBA rankings.  Birmingham Business School was one of only 15 UK Business Schools that featured in the global ranking, illustrating Birmingham’s continued commitment to provide international management expertise across a range of business disciplines.

For further information on the Birmingham Business School visit: