In a class of their own
For many young people, starting a career can seem daunting. But a successful initiative in the UK and Middle East is easing the transition for new recruits joining Audit & Assurance.
The Skills Academy is designed to give everyone the same experience and the best start possible. This year, hundreds of new joiners have been through the programme, helping them to develop the capabilities, confidence and contacts to flourish in their career.
Competencies and consistency
The academy programme provides participants with a high-quality springboard into a career in Audit, giving them the opportunity to work on live projects while learning a consistent set of core competencies.
After it launched as a pilot in the UK in 2018, the initiative proved so successful that it was extended to all new joiners across Audit, and a second programme was introduced in the Middle East in 2020.
This year alone, over 600 participants have been through the UK academy and 160 through the Middle East – including interns, graduates, our BrightStart apprentices and students on industrial work placements.
“It has given me confidence as well as core skills I now use day-to-day in my work with audited entities.”
Skills Academy participant
A valuable steppingstone
Umar Patel is among our alumni. He took part in the UK initiative in November 2021 after joining our BrightStart scheme, an earn-while-you-learn apprentice programme for school leavers, and the academy proved a great steppingstone to the working world.
“There were so many new people to meet and new things to learn and taking part in the Skills Academy helped to build my confidence,” he says.
“You develop skills like communication and how to use certain software and programmes. Having that knowledge is priceless.”
It also provided a networking opportunity that will benefit Umar throughout his career. “Getting to know people is a big part of working at Deloitte and, through the Skills Academy, you meet others in the same boat and feel supported. I still talk to people from my rotation, which has been great.”
Putting learning into practice
In the UK, cohorts complete a three-week rotation, guided by a dedicated team leader, with a mix of virtual and in-person working.
“A key aspect of the Skills Academy is preparing participants to work on live projects. We task them with either live work or case studies – meaning they can quickly put what they’ve learnt into practice,” explains Taisheen Anver Khan, who drove the UK roll out.
For Deloitte Middle East, which covers 15 countries, the programme targets permanent hires and interns, and the rotations are around eight weeks.
“The team in the UK were definitely the pioneers, but I was able to connect with Taisheen and take guidance,” says Vinod Ganwani, who leads the initiative in the Middle East.
“For us, the Skills Academy is a haven where everyone is taught in the same way. There are no cultural barriers or hierarchies, and people are given the space and time to learn. Also, rather than just training, it’s providing real, practical experience.”
“Rather than 15 associates joining separately, and managers teaching the same thing in different ways, why not bring them together? It improves consistency and creates an environment where they can support one another.”
Senior manager, Deloitte Middle East
Ultimately, everyone benefits: the individuals and the teams they go on to work in. It’s also proving a hit among colleagues who sign up as cohort team leaders.
“Feedback shows they enjoy their role because it’s so different from their day job,” says Taisheen. “Over the course of the programme, they see how participants develop and get a real feeling of satisfaction. They love that aspect of it.”
Skills Academy participants have also been overwhelmingly positive, with around 90 per cent of the UK participants agreeing it’s been valuable for them.
For Taisheen, there’s a sense of pride in watching the Skills Academy develop. “I’ve been part of this for a number of years now, and you get so emotionally invested,” she explains. “I’m delighted to see the impact it has had on so many people.”