York University careers fairA few weeks ago I made the journey up north to York for their university careers fair. I got to meet a lot of very interested students and answer some fantastic questions. In this post I will be sharing a few of these questions and of course the answers. There were many other great questions that have not been included in this post as I have tried to focus on the five ones that are not covered on our website, and of course ones I can remember!

With so many accounting firms at this grad fair, why should I apply to the National Audit Office?

If you are interested in the public sector then the great news is we audit this. We get to go into departments like Defence, Justice, and Cabinet Office and audit their accounts, making sure they have spent the money on what they said they would. This is fascinating and important work!

Another reason is the unique value for money aspect of our work. This is where we provide reports to Parliament (around 60 each year) on how government has delivered programmes and policies with the view to making an objective judgement on whether the criteria of economy, efficiency, and effectiveness have been met. It really feels like our value for money work makes a positive impact on the nation and as a trainee, you contribute to this.

Is the NAO a diverse place to work?

Personally I have found the NAO to be a very welcoming and inclusive place for all trainees and diversity is highly valued here. There are diversity networks such as Religion and Belief, or Ethnic Minority Network which you can be a part of. We also recruit trainees from a range of backgrounds; over a quarter of my intake are from an ethnic minority.

Is there any point in applying? There will be so many applications that I have next to no chance of getting on this scheme.

We get around 1000 applications for 70 places each year, so yes it is tough to get a place but if you’re motivated to study for the ACA, have a real interest in the NAO’s work, think you’re a good match to what we’re looking for and prepare well for all the assessments then there’s no reason you can’t be one of the successful candidates. If I can do it, so can you!

I am over 30 years old. Have I missed the boat on your grad scheme?

Not at all as the NAO really values experience. I know more people in my intake who did not go straight into the NAO from university than those who did (myself included). What matters is that you have the competencies the NAO is looking for and that you’re motivated to work here and study for the ACA qualification.

When is the deadline for my application?

This question came up so much that it would be remiss of me to not answer it again. The deadline is 31 December 2014 BUT it is important to get your application in as early as possible as places can fill up fast.

Apply now!

Our 2015 graduate training scheme is now open to applications (deadline 31 December 2014). Head over to our graduate recruitment site for further information on how to apply.

If you’ve got any questions around the application process, please leave a comment below. You can also contact our recruitment team by email, via our Facebook page, or on Twitter.

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