Time to dispel the common myths around apprenticeships

To mark National Apprenticeship Week (7 – 13 February 2022), professional services firm KPMG UK dispels common misconceptions holding would-be apprentices back from considering the alternative career path.

KPMG UK currently has around 900 apprentices, with over 200 apprentices having joined the firm in the last financial year alone. Alongside offering apprenticeships in business areas including Audit or Consulting, the firm also has programmes for those interested in Law, Technology & Engineering as well as Business Services. 

Challenging the misconceptions around apprenticeships, Kevin Hogarth, Chief People Officer at KPMG UK, said:

“All too often the apprenticeship route is overlooked in favour of the more well-trodden path of going to university and then embarking on a graduate programme. The truth is that apprenticeships are just as viable an option but too few people truly understand the opportunities they present.

“KPMG’s Apprenticeship Programme offers the opportunity to gain practical work experience alongside working towards professional qualifications and accreditations – including diplomas and degrees. They also come with the added benefit of earning a salary at the same time. Apprenticeships play a critical role in bolstering future skills in the UK, so we must end the antiquated view of them by debunking the common misconceptions holding future apprentices back.”

Debunking the common myths

1) ‘Apprenticeships are only aimed at school leavers’ - While candidates may well consider apprenticeships when they leave school, our apprenticeship programmes are open to people of all ages. In fact, apprenticeships offer a great opportunity for those looking to change career, upskill or re-skill.

 It’s also a misconception that ‘apprenticeships are for those that haven’t performed well at school’. Whether it’s for apprenticeship, undergraduate or graduate programmes, KPMG UK is looking for diverse talent and the application process is designed to support future trainees in showing their potential as well as looking at prior attainment. KPMG apprentices work towards professional qualifications, degrees and accreditations during their apprenticeship, so they develop core skills and learn from industry experts.

2) ‘Apprenticeships are primarily focused on jobs in trades or manual industries’ - This antiquated view of apprenticeships is often what holds many applicants back. A breadth of industries and occupations are now accessible via the apprenticeship route, including the accountancy, legal, consulting and digital professions.

3) ‘Apprentices won’t gain the same levels of qualification as they would at university’ - The key benefit of becoming an apprentice at KPMG is the ability to not only gain practical work experience and build core skills, but also being supported to achieve professional qualifications and accreditations, including diplomas and degrees. As well as achieving university-level qualifications, apprentices gain tangible examples of using what they learn in a business setting.

4) ‘Apprentices don’t earn as much money’ - One of the key benefits of becoming an apprentice over going to university is earning a salary. KPMG continually benchmarks salaries and overall reward packages in order to remain competitive and attract and retain the best talent. ‘Earning while learning’ is often cited by apprentices as preferable to funding university studies with a student loan.

 Beyond providing a competitive salary, apprentices also benefit from our broader employee offering, which includes core and flexible benefits, further learning and development opportunities and career progression. Further details on what reward and benefits KPMG provides apprentices can be found: here

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5) ‘The work apprentices do isn’t impactful’ - Our apprentices do far more than merely shadow other colleagues. Our apprenticeship programmes entail both learning and working alongside other senior colleagues, leaders and peers, putting learning as part of your professional qualifications and degrees into action

 During a KPMG apprenticeship, there are also plenty of opportunities for apprentices to get involved in our community volunteering activities, so they are encouraged to make a difference at work, and outside the office too.

Daamini Kumar, an apprentice on KPMG UK’s Technology & Engineering Apprenticeship programme based in London, added:

“My decision to choose the apprenticeship route over the more traditional university route was driven by the practical element. I really enjoy learning by doing, so choosing an apprenticeship was the best option for me.

“Gaining the technical experience from my apprenticeship and growing my network across the firm is proving extremely valuable. I’m benefiting from on-the-job learning, collaborating with colleagues and learning from very talented and skilled people.

“I’ve really enjoyed working in different teams as part of my rotation within the firm, which has provided me with great opportunities to learn, grow and be able to regularly meet new people. My apprenticeship has provided me with an opportunity to kickstart my career at an early stage, working towards my career aspirations. I’m gaining relevant qualifications and working towards a degree, which will ultimately see me become a qualified, skilled and experienced professional within KPMG’s security practice. No two days have been the same and I’ve been lucky enough to get exposure to some really interesting projects and initiatives across the firm, which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed.”

James Boddie, an apprentice on KPMG’s Audit Apprenticeship programme based in Aberdeen, added:

“For me, the apprenticeship route outweighed going to university because it allowed me to gain industry experience at a Big Four accountancy firm, whilst also working towards qualifications.

“My apprenticeship allows me to live more independently, earning money whilst not having to depend upon my parents or take out a student loan. I’ve also felt part of a team from the off. All my colleagues have been really welcoming and supportive, even while having to work remotely during the pandemic.  

“I’m currently focussed on working my way through my apprenticeship and progressing within KPMG, but in time I’d like to move into industry as a qualified and experienced chartered accountant.”

To discover more about KPMG UK’s apprenticeships, please visit our careers website: kpmgcareers.co.uk/apprentice



Notes to editors:

  • Further case studies of KPMG apprentices are available upon request, as are high resolution headshots of those commenting in the press release.


For more information contact:

Simon Wilson, Corporate Communications Manager at KPMG UK

Mobile: +44 (0)7785 373 397

Email: simon.wilson@kpmg.co.uk


About KPMG

KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 15,300 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.43 billion in the year ended 30 September 2021.

KPMG is a global organization of independent professional services firms providing Audit, Legal, Tax and Advisory services. It operates in 145 countries and territories with more than 236,000 partners and employees working in member firms around the world. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. KPMG International Limited is a private English company limited by guarantee. KPMG International Limited and its related entities do not provide services to clients.