Last week KPMG, the global consulting firm, announced plans to launch a 6 year training programme to turn 100 of this years school leavers in to Accountants. The specifics see KPMG working with 20 schools in disadvantaged areas to recruit 100 school leavers in to BSc Accounting and Finance. This will then be followed up by a two-year post degree training programme leading to a professional accounting qualification.
Tuition fees and accommodation costs will be covered by KPMG for the duration of the degree programme. Starting salary post degree for accounting trainees will commence at £20,000 per annum and is expected to rise to around £45,000 once the training course has been completed. The target is for around 400 pupils per annum to be recruited in to this scheme.
Last year we had McDonalds announce they were to introduce and support degree programmes for staff.
Is this part of a wider trend amongst employers to support further and higher education? Clearly the rising costs of tuition fees inflames passions, as we have witnessed from the recent student demonstrations. The issue of employee engagement is firmly on the agenda and talent attraction and retention is a challenge for so many.
KPMG, like many firms offering training schemes, suffers from having many who qualify leave to other businesses who then benefit from that investment. Will starting early and supporting education and professional training in this way strengthen the psychological contract between employer and employee?
I for one am not convinced. Employee engagement is an ongoing commitment. However, this is not just about a great pr move, it is part of a genuine commitment to invest in giving school leavers a better future. We should not just rely on government to fill in the gaps. The private sector needs to take a longer term view about the talent of tomorrow. I for one applaud KPMG, McDonalds and those like them for investing in that future.