Interactive Skills, a small team of business psychologists based in Henley-on-Thames, has been awarded the contract in partnership with QAA Educational Consultants and TMP Worldwide, the world's largest recruitment advertising company.
The move appears to underline the Government's conviction that the venture should be modelled on public and private-sector schemes for graduate high-flyers.
Bright teachers and graduates with no classroom experience will be selected through application forms, intelligence tests an detailed cross-examination at a residential assessment centre. Recruitment will begin in September and the scheme will start next year. Eventually, 1,000 a year will be recruited.
Interactive Skills, which has 20 staff, has experience of designing residential assessment schemes for leading blue-chip companies and has worked with the Cabinet Office and the Audit Commission. The fast-track scheme will rely on educational advice from QAA.
David Lawton, project manager, said: "Professions do differ. But normally we can identify the characteristics that point to success such as inter-personal skills and high-level reasoning ability."