Press releases

The future is bright for Deloitte higher level apprenticeship graduates

First cohort of BrightStarts graduate with honours from Ulster University

18 December 2019

Deloitte and Ulster University are set to celebrate the graduation of the first cohort of students from their pioneering BrightStart higher level apprenticeship programme.

BrightStart is a highly innovative programme which enables young people to gain an honours degree (BSc Hons in Business Technology) through Ulster University Business School as well as recognised professional qualifications and a job at Deloitte, working for the company’s clients across the UK.

Seventeen young people who joined the first BrightStart programme in 2015 will graduate next week, with 10 achieving First Class Honours and seven achieving a 2:1 in their degree.

Co-created by Ulster University Business School and Deloitte, the degree programme has been a huge success with 250 people on the apprenticeship programme in Belfast. Initially aimed at school leavers, applicants to the programme have include people from a diverse range of backgrounds and ages, including some who have previously tried university or worked in other jobs.

The BrightStart programme has allowed the group to accelerate in their career with all those graduating now in positions which normally take traditional graduates two years to reach at the firm. Applications for this year’s programme are open until 20 December and details can be found here.

Jackie Henry, senior partner at Deloitte in Belfast said: “Our 2019 Human Capital Trends report shows one of the most important factors to an employee is making their work meaningful and giving people a sense of belonging, trust and relationships. Our BrightStart programme is providing these meaningful experiences, with our BrightStarts developing the skills needed for the future workplace and applying this learning in real time with real clients.

“We are delighted to see our first group of BrightStarts graduate from University. They are an invaluable part of the firm, providing a fresh approach to the way we do business.

“The BrightStart programme has helped us to tap into a new vein of talent and employ people who represent the next generation in Northern Ireland. We’re proud to offer an alternative route for talented individuals looking for a career with Deloitte and giving them the chance to advance their careers and specialise in a range of disciplines.”

Professor Gillian Armstrong, Director of Business Engagement at Ulster University Business School added: “It is incredibly rewarding to see the first participants in the BrightStart programme graduate with such exceptional degree results after four and half years of hard work.

“The programme was Northern Ireland’s first degree-level apprenticeship and the University’s strategic partnership with Deloitte has led the way in showing what is possible when academia and industry work together. Deloitte’s operations have grown rapidly in the past few years, increasing the firm’s requirement for talent and we have been really proud as a Business School to work alongside them to pioneer their “grow your own” approach.”

Deloitte announced at the start of 2019 that it will move into a new headquarters at Bedford Square in Belfast in 2021 which will house all of the firm’s staff in Northern Ireland. Jackie Henry said higher level apprenticeships will play an essential part in the firm reaching its growth targets.

“Our new office will bring Deloitte’s expertise in Belfast together under one roof, which will foster greater collaboration between teams and enable us to create a campus environment that is ideally suited to the agile and augmented jobs of the future.

“The significant investment we are making reflects our confidence in Belfast and its high-quality talent base and we believe that the people who come into the company through BrightStart as well as our graduate schemes and academies, will be crucial to shaping our future workforce.”


Notes to editors

About Deloitte
In this press release references to “Deloitte” are references to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”) a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity.

Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP is a subsidiary of Deloitte NSE LLP, which is a member firm of DTTL, and is among the UK's leading professional services firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

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