Senior partners from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) visited Queen Mary University of London on Wednesday 12 October, meeting students enrolled on Queen Mary’s Flying Start programmes and senior leadership from the University, as well as touring the Mile End campus.
The visit provided valuable opportunities to students. A networking session enabled them to build a community between those on the Flying Start programmes, as well as spending time with staff members from both Queen Mary and PwC. This was followed by a panel discussion led by Alison Statham, PwC Chief Risk Officer for the UK firm, which gave students access to and insights from senior business leaders.
The visit was part of an ongoing employer partnership between Queen Mary and PwC. There are currently two programmes on offer to students in Accountancy and Digital and Technology Solutions, enabling students to ‘earn while they learn’ at a leading Russell Group university.
Established in 2021, these programmes provide innovative routes into employment with students dividing their time between paid work placements at PwC and studying at Queen Mary as they work towards their degree. Most students will then continue to build their career with PwC after graduating.
The Accountancy programme – run out of Queen Mary’s School of Business and Management - fast-tracks students into a career in chartered accountancy, with students also gaining some of the technical work experience required by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) to qualify as a chartered accountant. The ICAEW is a strategic partner of the programme alongside Queen Mary and PwC.
The Digital and Technology solutions programme allows students to get involved in various exciting and nationally important areas, such as cyber security and forensic technology. Teaching takes place in new state-of-the-art facilities at the London City Institute of Technology, delivered by world-leading academic experts.
The programmes build on Queen Mary’s significant commitment to social mobility, offering alternative pathways to work in addition to the traditional university degree. Queen Mary has the best record of all the Russell Group universities in England for recruiting undergraduate students from state schools and from lower-income families and was ranked top in the country for social mobility.
Dr Ishani Chandrasekara, Reader in Accounting at Queen Mary and Programme Director for Flying Start Programme, said: “We are immensely grateful to PwC for partnering with Queen Mary and their extraordinary generosity in providing a significant number of bursaries for our Flying Start Accountancy students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
“Queen Mary is committed to opening the doors to those for whom this is the right university. Our aim is to allow ambitious students to join us, whatever their financial means, and we are delighted to have PwC’s support.”
Dr Eran Padumadasa, Deputy Dean for Education (Employer Led Education), Faculty of Science and Engineering at Queen Mary and Programme Director of the Digital and Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship said: “We were thrilled to welcome PwC to Queen Mary, and it was clear that our students got a lot out of the experience.
“The partnership has been a success – we have taken on talented students who have bright futures ahead. It’s important to us that our students graduate into careers they are passionate about and can make a difference in. Our programme with PwC offers students from all walks of life a fantastic opportunity to achieve this.”
Avneet Chopra – a Flying Start student at Queen Mary, said: “This programme has been nothing short of informative and enjoyable despite it being early days. From being able to get the best knowledge from a prestigious Russell Group university such as Queen Mary University of London to being able to get hands on experience and meeting world-known partners from PwC itself.
“It’s amazing knowing I am earning a salary whilst doing a degree and having partial tuition fees paid for me, it’s a massive bonus and definitely makes my friends and family jealous! I am confident with Queen Mary and PwC both by my side, it will provide me with a flying start.”
Ian Elliott, Chief People Officer, at PwC said: “We know that the affordability of higher education is an increasing issue for many young people leaving school, so by working with universities to offer these programmes we can help prevent some incredibly talented people from missing out, whilst improving social mobility - a key priority for our firm.”
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