KPMG expands school leaver work experience programme

24 September 2014

KPMG UK has over the past year significantly expanded its so-called ‘school leaver work experience programme’. The intake of school-leavers nearly tripled to 71, compared to an intake of 25 candidates last year, and the catchment area has been extended beyond London to offices across the UK, including Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester and Watford.

To help young people from different backgrounds successfully enter the workforce, KPMG in 2010 launched the ‘STAR programme’, a programme that offers talented individuals who have just completed their A Levels (or equivalent) the opportunity to gain 12 months' paid work experience. During the 12 months candidates develop technical knowledge and professional skills through working on a wide range of projects (typically 3 – 6 months), from client engagements to strategic initiatives. At the end of the programme, the candidates are given the option to apply to other KPMG opportunities such as the ‘School Leaver Programme’ or experienced hire roles.

School and College Leaver Opportunities - KPMG

Based on the success of the programme* – to date 43 of the 84 STAR alumni have successfully secured permanent roles – the accounting and consulting firm has decided to expand the programme’s scope. The number of intakes has been increased and the programme’s footprint has been extended to several offices beyond London, where STAR was launched four years ago. “The STAR programme was launched in response to internal demand for junior resources, and the need to increase diversity within our workforce by widening access to our profession. The decision to expand the intake, both in terms of numbers and geography this year is testament to success of the scheme and the achievements of our trainees, who have truly inspired us,” explains Alison Fryer, director and STAR programme lead at KPMG.

KPMG's UK people director, Colm Coffey, adds: "It's important for businesses to step up and contribute positively to social mobility. By building sustainable partnerships with schools, colleges and the local community, we can help raise the aspirations of young people. Such relationships help address youth unemployment and the skills shortage amongst school leavers, but they also inspire confidence in young people to continue to invest in and develop their skills and experiences to build successful working lives. The STAR programme provides this valuable work experience and helps young people fulfil their potential and succeed in a company that they would not necessarily have had the opportunity to join through conventional means." 

Alison Fryer and Colm Coffey - KPMG

* In addition to the internal success, the STAR programme has also been recognised by external parties for its commitment to diversity. Since its launch the initiative has been awarded the “Race for Opportunity” award as well as the “Big Tick” from Business in the Community.


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Two consultancies among UK’s best office breakout spaces

05 April 2019

A pair of Bristol-based consulting firms have been recognized for having among the UK’s best office break areas. People Source Consulting and Ashville were marked out for their vibrant and fun spaces, which feature table games, picnic areas, and even beer.

With competition for talent in the UK continuing to heat up – as the nation continues to enjoy its highest employment rate since the 1970s – firms have been upping their game on multiple fronts to help attract the cream of the crop. In order to successfully court the best candidates, companies are not only taking into account pay and benefits, but are also working to lure potential employees to their firms with the promise of innovative and vibrant work spaces.

In late 2018, employment website Glassdoor announced ten offices had been named the coolest places to work in the UK. Among those lauded for their work in enriching the working day of their employees was Capco – the only consultancy to make the grade.

Two consultancies among UK’s best office breakout spaces

Now,, a leading games room specialist based in the UK, has announced the ten offices it believes have made the cut for its inaugural Office Breakout of the Year competition. The contest has pitted a diverse range of companies against one another to be named the best office-based breakout space that the UK has to offer. Research from recently revealed that 65% of workers would consider switching employers for a better working environment, making the appearance of two consultancies on the list especially important for their recruitment ambitions.

People Source Consulting – a recruitment business from Bristol – hosts a brightly lit and vibrant space, complete with faux grass and picnic benches, along with a well-stocked beverage fridge – alcohol appears to be an option – as well as an array of tabletop games, including pool. Ashville, an asset management consultancy also based in Bristol, meanwhile boasts a break room decked out with table football, a table tennis court and even arcade machines.

Two consultancies among UK’s best office breakout spaces

The other eight finalists exhibit offerings including swinging hammocks, scooters and a bizarre and brilliant variety of other features. The other nominees are accessplanit – a software business from Lancaster; Digital 22 – a marketing and design agency from Clitheroe; Roc Search – a tech and engineering recruitment specialist from Reading; Sales-i – a provider of sales analytics software from Solihull; SEC Group – an office fit out company from Stevenage; SLG Brands – a portfolio of beauty brands with a head office in Cheltenham; Zest Digital – a digital marketing agency from Oxford; and 16i – a digital design agency also from Cheltenham.

Andy Beresford, MD of, said, “According to recent reports, the UK is currently seeing record levels of employment, and while that might be a great statistic, the knock-on effect is that it’s becoming harder and harder to recruit top talent… Being named as a finalist gives those shortlisted businesses the opportunity to showcase how they go about delivering a better working environment for their employees, with some top effort evidently involved judging by what we’ve seen.”