New graduates during induction week
This week, some smiley and nervous new faces have been appearing around the London and Newcastle offices, as we welcome the new intake of trainees to the NAO. Although it’s now over two years since I joined the Newcastle office, I can still remember those first few weeks of working here. I joined the office straight from university, where I had the typical work ethic of a student, to working full time in a field where I had no experience. This meant it was a tough few weeks and a steep learning curve for me. Thankfully, I found that my colleagues were very friendly and willing to explain things multiple times!

The experience as a trainee begins with an induction, which for Newcastle trainees is split between the London and Newcastle offices (for those who are lucky enough to work up north!). This serves as a good opportunity to meet future colleagues, although it’s easy for new trainees to chat to their fellow intake before starting work as HR set up a Facebook group for them to join. Luckily for me, I found out that one of my colleagues was going to be living on the same street as me (spooky, huh?) and I met him on the morning of my first day. We eagerly turned up over half an hour early and found ourselves wondering whether we should go in yet or not. Surprisingly enough, after waiting a few minutes and going in, we soon found out we were the last to arrive!

Very quickly we found ourselves chatting to our new colleagues, participating in the many training sessions and having introductory meetings with various people around the office. One of these sessions is a ‘speed dating’ style session which enables you to talk to various colleagues, from other trainees to directors. I was quite nervous during this session as I wasn’t sure what to ask or say – after all, they do say it’s the first impression that counts! The session lasts about 15 minutes (but it feels a lot longer!) and allows new trainees to learn about what different teams do and how they can help if needed.

After the introductory week, the new trainees go to college for two weeks to prepare for and sit the first two exams for the ACA (Associate Chartered Accountant) qualification (Accounting and Audit). Although it feels like you’ve been thrown into the deep end, some basic knowledge that you’ll learn is quite important for getting to grips with the audit work. New trainees are also paired with a buddy so that they have an easy point of contact for any general queries or need any help. This year I’m going to be a buddy for a new trainee, so hopefully I can share some of my wisdom and knowledge with them.

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