My name is Mark Kakembo and I’ve just started my second year with KPMG under their 360 Programme run over the course of six years. This programme is designed but not limited to those that have a great interest in accounting, leadership and advisory roles. As a young teenager coming to the end of A-Levels, I had little/no idea as to what an apprenticeship entailed. One year later, I’m still unaware as to why almost 70% of parents do not know what an apprenticeship involves.
During my first year working for KPMG I have enjoyed the full-on experience in being able to rotate around the company, as my programme promises. I have just completed my second sixth-month rotation in Corporate Tax and have made a start to my second stint with Audit. With the relatively extended periods of time I’ve had whilst in my two previous rotations, it only goes to show the amount of experience on the table for individuals willing to learn on a day to day basis.
Alongside my experience at work, I am also currently working towards achieving my Level 4 Qualification in AAT whilst studying at the BPP University. In the year just passed, I was able to obtain my Level 3 Qualification with a pass and a great deal of on the job knowledge learning during the first year. I am well capable of preparing financial statements for partnerships & sole traders, preparing a VAT return, budgeting in a business, double entry bookkeeping amongst other skills I’ve been able to develop on and off the job. My ultimate goal is to have completed my Level 7 chartered qualification with the ACA by the end of my initial six-year stint with the firm.
KPMG, as one of the big four accounting firms, may have an inherited stereotypical position of providing little in the way of a hands-on approach to training. However, this could not be further from the truth in the time that I have spent working over the past year. The amount of off the record and on the job training I’ve received from both my Tax and Audit teams has been immensely helpful in boosting my development as I grow day by day in the firm. The relatively new 360 Programme coming to replace the school leaver degree has been received very well in my home office, to say the least, and I’ve heard a lot of the same from colleagues in various regional offices.
Away from accounting, it is important to note that KPMG has consciously attempted to flip the one qualification approach a number of companies take and in turn offer a variety of school leaver schemes such as business administration and technology apprenticeships. These give rise to a number of opportunities and different personalities joining the firm, another propeller to us having one of the most diverse ranges of people in any UK firm. Testimony to that being our firm rated the Top female employer year on year by Times magazine.
Secondary to this, as an apprentice at KPMG you are offered the same rewards as any other employee which I feel is important in being able to shape the “One Firm” approach taken over the past few years. This means that one is able to tap into the vast nature of our reward packages which I believe is tailored to perfection in terms of addressing any particular needs employees in a firm of this magnitude may face on a daily basis.
In summary, as far as decisions go I feel as though taking on an apprenticeship and being given the opportunity in a firm as big as this are probably the two biggest achievements I’m able to put to my name to to-date. I would highly recommend that one assesses the market for an apprenticeship role that suits them best and actively chases after it…