Professional services giant KPMG has been sending its apprentices back to school in a scheme to boost their professional development, reports Samantha King.

Apprentices at KPMG are encouraged to go back to their former schools and talk about their career journey so far through the firm’s Back to Schools programme, developed after its first-ever cohort of apprentices in October 2015 asked how they could share their experiences of the world of work with their old teachers and schoolmates.

The scheme has had a revamp this year, and apprentices can use six allotted volunteering days to visit schools and deliver a presentation on their apprenticeship.

“We have a specific learning curriculum, aside from the professional qualification, to help them bridge that gap from college to corporate life,” explained Kevin Matthews, KPMG’s apprenticeships assistant manager.

“The programme helps apprentices looking to build their confidence with presentation skills and networking ability.”

Six of the company’s apprentices have been appointed apprentice champions in locations across the country to help run the programme, field questions from their peers and assist with facilitating school visits.

“We encourage the apprentices to make that initial contact with schools,” said Elizabeth Morris, assistant manager for student recruitment at KPMG. “We have copy that we provide them with and they’re able to tweak that, just to say hello, I came to this school or college, and I’m really interested in coming back and talking about my experience – is there an opportunity for me to do so?”

Before the Back to Schools programme was in place, the firm found that on outreach visits to schools, pupils were more interested in hearing the experiences of newer recruits than those in more established positions in the firm.

“Those apprentices are ultimately our best sales people. They’re enjoying themselves, they’re living the values of our firm and they can go out there and talk to those people in a much more meaningful and authentic way,” added Mr Matthews.

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