If you are reading this blog as someone who decided not to go to university, the following post might be for you. In addition to our graduate training scheme, we also offer opportunities for school leavers, and you can apply now to join our School Leaver Scheme later this year (deadline: 28 February). Alex Pullen, one of our School Leaver Scheme participants, tells you about his experiences so far.

school-leaversStill deciding whether or not to go to university? Don’t worry, I felt the same way! I spent many an hour deciding whether I would benefit best from university or going elsewhere in the world of work. To this day I still wonder how things may have turned out through university, but I know I made the best choice for me. I thought I would need to go to university to gain the independence I wanted, but instead I found it here at the NAO. From the start date in September 2013, there has been no doubt I have enjoyed my time here so far.

Now well underway in my second year of the School Leaver Scheme, my audit life has taken me a fair few places in Central London, Leeds, Newcastle, Oxford, Salisbury, and beyond. I quite enjoy travelling to different parts of the country, even if it’s just for work. Since starting at the NAO as a school leaver, it has become easier to find that ideal work life balance, despite the challenging weeks of college and revision. I still find time to see my friends at university and do almost everything I would like to in a week.

So far on the scheme we have completed 5 of the first 6 CFAB (Certificate in Finance, Accounting and) exams. The reality of completing CFAB in just over a month’s time hasn’t quite sunk in yet. I cannot wait to get this first stage complete and become a part qualified ACA candidate! The scheme itself is a 5 year programme beginning with the CFAB course and continuing on to ACA. By doing this route, you would be qualified a year sooner than those who went to university. College can be intense but if you put in the effort it’s more than possible to pass the exams. To apply for the scheme you will need 300 UCAS points (or equivalent) and 5 GSCEs at A*- C.

Schemes like this are becoming more popular as employers realise the potential in those leaving A-Levels. With the NAO scheme offering a competitive salary and plenty of training opportunities, it is definitely a great option for those not going to university.

Do you think you could fulfil a role here at the NAO? Go to our site and apply. For those applying I would recommend researching into the scheme to understand what is expected of you throughout the interview process and starting work. This will give you a great head start over all those who do not. You could even pick a department that you are interested in, like Health, Defence or Justice, and look at a VFM (value for money) report the NAO has produced. This will definitely give you an idea as to what you could be part of at the NAO.

Possibly the best advice I could give is to voice your opinion; there are no right or wrong answers. If you can show you have an opinion and can form a debate as to why you have that opinion, you are more likely to succeed having shown some thought and consideration.

Apply now and good luck!

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