A former North East student has become the first to rise through the ranks to become a director at accountancy giant PwC after taking part in the firm’s fast-track training programme.
Jennifer Duck, who trained in PwC’s Newcastle office, is the first alumni nationally to be promoted to director since the Flying Start programme first began in 2002.
Miss Duck graduated in 2006 and went on to work in PwC’s government and public sector team before transferring to the risk assurance team in Newcastle.
She quickly worked her way up the firm and, now promoted to director, has moved away from Newcastle to take up a new global role in the firm’s London office, having spent eight years in the North East office.
Miss Duck’s promotion represents a milestone for the Flying Start programme, a collaboration between Newcastle University Business School, PwC and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) which was the first degree of its kind when established 12 years ago.
Its unique structure enables students to put classroom theory into commercial practice on a number of placements with PwC, and then relate practical experience back to their studies.
Those selected for the programme here in the North East can carry out placements in PwC offices closer to their home towns, and eventually take up permanent posts.
Since it was established Flying Start has been a popular route for students, with around 350 applications for around 50 to 55 places available each year.
More than 700 people have taken part in the accelerated programme from all over the UK.
Around 95% of finalists achieve a 2:1 or higher and the vast majority go on to graduate roles at PwC.
In addition to Miss Duck’s promotion, PwC has also promoted five new senior managers and 10 managers in its Newcastle office. The promotions are across services including deals, assurance and tax.
Bill MacLeod, senior office partner at PwC Newcastle, said: “I am delighted for Jennifer and very proud that the first director promotion from the programme nationally was trained in Newcastle.
“She is a great example of how Flying Start allows us to build a strong pipeline of talent, ensuring we attract the best people and skills to support our clients and help them be successful.
“Flying Start was a unique concept when it began and it has become increasingly attractive to students. The programme has enabled us to better respond to the increased pressures on students with the introduction of fees, reduced graduate opportunities and the need to demonstrate business skills.”
The Flying Start programme in Newcastle has been so successful PwC has launched two more partnerships with UK universities.
Reading University launched the programme last year and will see its third intake of students in September, and Nottingham University launched earlier this year with its first students starting the programme in September.