start-maleOur popular ‘Trainee-in-waiting’ series is back! Here we introduce some of the graduates who will be joining our trainee scheme next month. The first candidate to answer our questions around the application process is Mikey Brooks. While Mikey is still waiting to become an official NAO trainee, he already joined us back in May to support some of our audit activities.

Mikey, why did you apply to the NAO?

I applied to the NAO because it appeared to offer a good balance between the financial and public sector. I had always enjoyed maths throughout my earlier studies but wasn’t able to incorporate it into my degree where I wanted to focus more on politics. My studies and work experience in politics made me loath give it up, but also made me recognise my interests still covered areas outside of politics. The NAO offers the chance to hold the government to account and access incredible things.

How did you find the NAO’s recruitment process (compared to others)?

I found the recruitment process not too dissimilar from other schemes of equal quality. I felt it went really smoothly, after certain technical issues, and was a swift process. The speed with which I went from first interview to job offer was really helpful and made accepting the offer all the easier with the recruitment team seeming to know whether they felt you were a good fit or not almost quickly. The director interview I found challenging, but also interesting as they not only tested how you interact but also how you think.

What do you wish you knew about us before you applied?

I wish I had known how great all the people are and how welcoming the office is. After the stress and worries of interviews to turn up on your first day and be provided with anything you could possibly need, have a tour and introductions to everyone I didn’t feel out of my depth. The support is great from everyone and whilst sometimes they’ll try and push you there’s always someone there to ask so there is nothing to be afraid of from your first day, just be yourself and get chatting to everyone because that’s the only way they stop being strangers. Also staff locator (a handy tool on the NAO’s intranet). Bit of a god send if you forget anyone’s names in the first few weeks, stops you having to ask you can just look where they sit and it will tell you exactly who they are.

Any tips for next year’s applicants?

Apply as early as possible and don’t worry about what degree you have done; all degrees have skills that can be transferred and almost everything you need to know will be taught to you. You do need an interest in either the public sector or finance to really enjoy the job though. You will be up against a high calibre of applicants but don’t let it put you off, it is a great opportunity.  If the opportunity is offered to start early take it where possible, the extra experience is invaluable.

What are you looking forward to when joining us in September?

Having already joined early in May I am looking forward to getting started on the ACA qualification and meeting other people joining on my scheme. The first week will be interesting for getting to know one another before the pressure of college, maybe even a trip or two to the pub after work for team building.

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