On the 20th of October 2016, I and six other Business Studies students went to Aquinas for a talk from an international business company called ‘Deloitte’. We arrived at around 10am where we were greeted by a senior partner from Deloitte and provided with tea and coffee. From there, we took our seats and listened to various presentations from the Deloitte team leaders. These presentations gave an insight into different aspects of Deloitte: ranging from business analysis to software hackathons to Deloitte’s community work.

In my opinion, the most significant piece of information we were given was in regards to the ‘BrightStart Programme’. This is a programme wherein Deloitte will pay your way through university if you work part-time for them (otherwise called a ‘Higher Level Apprenticeship’). Many details were given about this scheme but the key ones to me were that you’re paid £14,500 with a £1,500 pay increase each year, you come out with an honours degree and you’re provided with opportunities to work with major clients and travel abroad.

After the various presentations, a ‘networking’ event took place. This involved various team leaders, Ulster University representatives and current ‘BrightStart’ participants to answer any questions we had. Personally, I was able to talk to two first-year BrightStart participants who told me what the scheme was really like and what it really involved day to day.

After this day out learning about the BrightStart scheme and Higher Level Apprenticeships, I’m strongly considering partaking in one of these HLA schemes. Overall, I encourage anyone who hasn’t considered an alternative route to University to have a look at what HLA courses may have to offer.

Report by Darren McCarroll 13LF