We are pleased to have Michael Burke, one of our Newcastle-based students, blogging for us today. Michael recently scooped the Presidents’ Award, Professional Stage, of the ICAEW Northern Society. Read on for his summary of the awards night, held a couple of weeks ago.

Awards trophyEvery autumn the Northern Society of Chartered Accountants host a dinner in Newcastle to bring together ICAEW members and give out awards to students who have gained high marks in exams and/or contributed to the wider community. I was one of the lucky students to scoop one!

There were five awards available on the night; one award for mentoring and two awards apiece for students who had completed their professional/ advanced exams. (The professional exams are the middle set of exams that you sit, whilst the advanced exams are the final three exams that you sit.)

The NAO had three nominees. Liam Ford was nominated for Northern Society Order of Merit, Advanced Stage whilst Ashleigh Jackson and I were nominated for Northern Society Presidents’ Award, Professional Stage. Sadly Liam and Ashleigh were unsuccessful, but both scored exceptionally high marks and narrowly missed out on winning. It was a great achievement to be nominated.

I was very happy to win the award, which will proudly sit on my mantelpiece alongside my Under 15’s Own Goal of the Season Award. (Which incidentally was for a stupendous twenty yard volley past my own keeper.)

Life at the NAO does allow you to contribute to the wider community. At the NAO, in both the London and Newcastle offices, there is a scheme in which a group of us give up a lunch hour once a week to support local primary school children with their reading skills. It is very rewarding for us and the children, and I am happy to play my role in it. Special thanks must go to Rebecca Sidell who organises it up in Newcastle.

In addition to this, for my sins, I am a local councillor and a football referee. I suppose my next step, now exams are over, is to start looking out for opportunities to volunteer as a local traffic warden in the New Year!

The NAO is usually well represented at these events as the exam pass rate for the NAO is above average, and despite what at times feel like a pretty punishing schedule, the office does allow you time off to prepare for exams. The office also provides tuition and revision weeks at BPP to help you prepare. Rest assured though potential graduates, campaigns for extra time to prepare for exams will always be advocated by many current graduates and recently qualified staff!

The night ended with a disco and a chance to meet people across the region. For me this included saying ‘hello,’ to many people I’d previously only smiled at as I nervously trudged into an exam hall. With people in high spirits and a weekend ahead to look forward to, a good night was enjoyed by all.

Apply now!

Our 2016 graduate training scheme is now open to applications (deadline 31 January 2016). 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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