Hi, this is probably the wrong website to post this on, and if anyone could point me in the direction of some UK careers forums I would greatly appreciate it.

However, here is my dilemma anyway

Firstly just to give some background info, im 18 and am just finishing off my A Levels.

Anyway, BDO Stoy Hayward, PwC and KPMG all have training schemes where they take on A Levels students and have them work and study towards Chartered Accountancy with the ICAEW. They aim to have you qualified within 4 years.

With KPMG and PwC you do the AAT the first two years and then the rest of the ACA exams for the next two years.

With BDO the first year you work in both audit and tax, and then in the second year you decided which area you want to specialise in and start your exams, qualifiying again in the fourth year.

What I want to know is that how does this compare to taking a degree and then joining a firm and completing your qualification 3 years after your degree.

From the surface it seems as if with the training schemes you become qualified after 4 years, and with the degree after 6 years, but then again afyer the 6 years you have a degree also!

with the schemes, I will not need to save money for uni, or get a student loan or have any debt whatsoever, AND will be fully qualified eariler than a graduate.

Which is better?
If i become chartered, will not having a degree hold me back with my career progression? All three companies say that it wont hold me back in my progression WITHIN the company, but what about outside? Will I be hindered without the degree?
Also, what is the pay difference between Chartered Accountants with and without degrees? Is it significant?

Im not really TOO keen on doing a degree, especially coming out with debt, however if these scheme really are as benficial as they seem I would definitly like to do one of them.

What do you guys think?

Thanks in advance for any help you can offer!