What’s it like to work at the NAO from the perspective of an intern? The graduate blog has asked Henry Firmin, one of the NAO’s 2014 summer interns, to share his thoughts and impressions after spending the first couple of weeks with us.

SummerThe last place I had worked before the NAO was for a marketing company in the Algarve, Portugal, where the weather was amazing and the mood was laid back. I honestly didn’t know whether I could adapt to the office life in London.

I was worried when starting my internship at the NAO as I felt clueless about how the organisation operates. Even though I come from a degree course in accounting , it was hard to figure out how I could apply what I have learned at university to the workplace.

However, during my first week here, I was provided with enough training which gradually introduced me to how the NAO functions and I was taught some general strategies that they use in their work. Everyone I’ve been working with has been really helpful and they did not expect me to be the most productive person in the office on my first day. But after I had understood my tasks and absorbed all the help provided, I am even shocked myself with how much work I’m producing!

Last week we were lucky enough to have a tour of the Palace of Westminster. This made all of us interns actually notice how important the NAO’s work is. I know as much about politics as I do art (nothing!), but due to the relationship between parliament and the NAO, an understanding of politics is useful. Thankfully my NAO colleagues provided me with a government framework workshop where they got me up to scratch and taught me the basics. Some of which I feel I should have known already, such as how a legislation is created, but all of us inevitably had some gaps in our knowledge. I have now actually started doing work that will contribute to the overall success of the organisation and the topics are surprisingly interesting! So far I have been studying shadow banking which I never even knew existed and now I’m noticing its presence everywhere.

Overall my start at the NAO has been inspiring and I look forward to the future weeks. It’s definitely confirmed that I would love to work here when I graduate.

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