PwC and Henley Business School partnership guarantees employment for graduates
New degree programme start October 2012
PwC offers undergraduate students an accelerated route to employment and an accountancy qualification through a new initiative in partnership with Henley Business School at the University of Reading and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), the professional accountancy body.
Henley Business School is launching a new degree programme in partnership with the UK's leading graduate employer, PwC, which will give students who successfully pass their exams and perform well in work placements a guaranteed job after graduation. The initiative is a way of supporting wider access into the accountancy profession. Students will be paid as they study towards the degree, effectively mitigating the cost of their university tuition fees.
The four-year BA Accounting and Business programme has been designed to give students a good business and commercial awareness as well as skills in marketing, law, governance and ethics. Like PwC's traditional graduate intake, they will study towards the ACA, the ICAEW professional qualification, in parallel to attaining a degree, but unlike the traditional six-year route they will qualify only five years after starting the degree, a year after joining the firm.
Ian Powell, PwC Chairman and Senior Partner, said: 'We see no shortage of talented students who want to perform at this level, and we expect strong competition when recruitment opens this September.'
Professor John Board, Dean of Henley Business School, describes the programme as a welcome addition to the School's portfolio of undergraduate programmes: 'All of our programmes combine academic rigour with practical relevance while offering students the opportunity for personal and professional development. This joint initiative with PwC and the ICAEW provides an excellent example of how we are working with employers and professional bodies to offer students a university experience that is challenging, engaging and rewarding.'
Richard Irwin, PwC Head of Student Recruitment, added: 'Unlike other employer-led degree programmes on the market, university degree programmes run in partnership with PwC offer the unique combination of students having a natural university experience while gaining the ICAEW's ACA qualification. It is a degree designed around a career, targeting motivated, high performing students, who know they want to work in accountancy or business. The mix of theory and practice means that when they join PwC, graduates from this programme will be one year ahead of their peers. We have long believed that employer-led degrees have a critical role in building the skills of students who know what they want out of a career.'
Students will put theory into practice by working within PwC's assurance team on their client projects over three paid, progressive work placements in years 2, 3 and 4 of the programme, providing them with vital employability skills before entering the workplace full time. Tuition fees in these years will be set at 80% of the University's standard undergraduate fee.
Students can expect to earn at least £20,000 over the course of their studies and successful graduates will be offered a higher starting salary than other graduates joining the firm of up to £35,000 plus benefits, as they will be closer to qualifying as a chartered accountant than their peers from other degree programmes.
David Willetts, the UK Minister for Universities and Science, said: 'I hope this innovative new scheme will prove to be very popular among prospective students. I congratulate PwC and Henley Business School on this exciting initiative, which is a great example of how new routes to the professions are being offered to help people reach their full potential. 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.'
Michael Izza, Chief Executive ICAEW, said: 'Our priority has always been to attract the best and brightest talent into the accountancy profession. This programme will provide a compelling alternative to pursuing a traditional university route to qualification. We are working hard to reach out to as wide and diverse a range of students as possible. This new programme will help ensure the profession of Chartered Accountancy remains accessible to all.'
Forty places will be offered every year, with the first group of students due to start in September 2012. Applications to the programme open in September 2011, and will require 340 UCAS points from 3 A Levels or equivalent.