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Kickstarting careers- A bright start and a brighter future for Audit & Assurance talent.


University isn't for everybody. Just ask Emily Keith and Ben Newton, who both chose Deloitte’s BrightStart apprenticeship scheme over university degrees.

If you’re wondering whether it could be the right choice for you, or even someone you know, read Emily and Ben’s inspiring stories.                                 

Ben is our first BrightStart to make partner – and is proof of what’s possible. Emily turned down a conditional offer at Cambridge to join our firm.

Both have interesting, fulfilling careers in our Audit & Assurance practice. Both believe that at the crossroads between work and university, they made the right choice.

So much so, they are keen to encourage anyone thinking of alternative routes into work to seriously consider a Deloitte apprenticeship.

"If you have the slightest thought that university might not be for you,” says Emily, “I'd say to really look into the BrightStart scheme and not to be worried by the idea of office life.”

And why Deloitte?

“The firm is a meritocracy,” adds Ben. “We welcome people who can live our values and make a difference. It doesn’t matter what route they’ve taken to get here.”

Emily’s story


Emily Keith admits she stumbled into an apprenticeship at Deloitte.

Growing up on the Welsh coast, the thought of working for a global organisation never crossed her mind. Despite being offered a place at Cambridge, she wasn’t sure if university was for her.

When she got involved with the Social Mobility Foundation during sixth form, and learnt more about opportunities in professional services, she realised there could be another way. Emily applied and was accepted on to our Audit & Assurance BrightStart scheme.

At the time, she wasn’t sure whether office life was for her either. Understandably, for anyone straight out of school, office life can seem like a world away. But swapping a classroom for the office turned out not to be as daunting as she’d assumed.

“An office workplace is a lot more comfortable than you think it's going to be – you’re not just coming in and sitting quietly at your desk. Everyone is really welcoming," Emily says. “It’s given me such a different view from anything I'd have seen day-to-day if I’d gone to uni.”

Having worked in our firm’s Birmingham and Bristol practices, Emily is four years ahead of university graduates with a growing network of friends and contacts and feels like she’s in a great position.

“Although university might have been fun, I don’t think it would have been any more fun than my job now.

“And I’ve learnt so much."



"I could definitely see a situation where I'd have finished my degree, said ‘what should I do now?’ and ended up on the same grad scheme but four years later, learning the same things, doing the same exams.”

Emily Keith, BrightStart Audit & Assurance apprentice

"At the age of 25, you can be sat in a boardroom of a FTSE company. I don’t think you’re going to get another profession where you can do something like that."

Ben Newton, Partner and former BrightStart apprentice

Ben’s story


It's the same for Ben Newton, who joined the scheme 12 years ago and, aged 30, is the first BrightStart apprentice to make partner. So how does that feel?

“It's a bit daunting,” he says, “but pride is the main emotion. I’ve put a lot of work in and have been lucky to have had a lot of support around me, and now have a fantastic opportunity to help shape the firm for the future.

“For apprentices, seeing someone who has been through the process and become a partner is really important for social mobility and representation. That sense of responsibility isn’t lost on me.”

Ben, who grew up in rural Dorset, was due to be the first in his family to go on to higher education. But he turned down his place at the University of Warwick, instead seeing the BrightStart apprenticeship as a way to get real-world experience and the ACA accountancy qualification, fully funded by the firm – and avoid student debt.

He says: “Most people do their Master’s, then join a grad scheme and take another four years to get their ACA. For me, this was a shortcut that still gave me academic parity, which was important.”

Ben relishes the fact that the Audit & Assurance industry is changing rapidly as the world does too.

“The role of accurate and high-quality financial information has become even more important in an uncertain and changing world. And it's not just the financials - for example, we are now providing assurance over a business’ climate related disclosures and their progress on climate commitments."

I love the industry because it combines maths and analytical skills, people skills and learning how businesses work. If you look at the CFOs and CEOs in the FTSE 100, the majority have an accountancy qualification and have been an auditor at some point in their career.

“It helps you build the skills you need to be a businessperson.”

2023 Annual Review

Find out more about the BrightStart scheme

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