Applications for the NAO summer internships are now open! But what can you expect from your eight weeks with us? Find out from Henry Firmin who joined us as an intern back in 2014 (and has since returned as a trainee).

SummerInitially I wanted to be an intern to gain experience (on paper) with a firm in the accounting or finance industry. I had assumed, based on word of mouth, I would be given monotonous tasks and undemanding work that others did not want to carry out. The NAO internship didn’t quite match this rumour.

Prior to my start at the NAO, staff tried to match my work to the areas I appeared most confident in throughout my application process (financial accounting and corporate finance), to build on my strengths and to increase my contribution to the organisation.

Even though I have stayed within the same team throughout my time here, I’ve been exposed to a range of interesting topics within the Private and Third Sector Delivery Team, and Treasury departments. In less than two months, I have:

  • studied a financing agreement between the Public Work Loans Board (PWLB) and a government client. I then attended a meeting with the client to discuss risks they are susceptible to and the precautions they have in place. This was helpful in understanding relationships that the NAO has with clients.
  • undertaken work on a Special Purpose Vehicles project that analyses finance and leases provided to companies on behalf of the government; summarising the circumstances of their debt arrangements.
  • independently formed a comprehensive spreadsheet addressing government intervention in the banking industry that the NAO will use in an advancing study.
  • directly contributed financial audit work on the Whole of Government Accounts (WGA).

Overall, my time as an intern has uncovered a range of practical experiences that have complemented my skills whilst constantly absorbing relevant knowledge and understanding the bigger picture. I have managed to communicate successfully both in and out of the office, developing relationships with colleagues. Many employees in the NAO take a great interest in their work and are always willing to discuss the jobs they are carrying out.

I have taken advantage of the social activities such as participating in the NAO annual football match (which was surprisingly intense) and the pop quiz which turned out to be a really entertaining evening (even though I only got one answer correct). Networking throughout the organisation has made working in the NAO much more welcoming, friendly and motivating.

The final stage of my placement was the assessment centre in my final week. Passing the assessment centre is needed to be able to return to the NAO as a graduate. This seems stressful and disheartening, considering that I’ve already worked here over the summer. However, a benefit of being an intern on the assessment centre is that I did not have to take part in the ‘group assessment’ section. This was due to my work ethic and personality becoming apparent throughout the internship. In addition, I was more confident when approaching this stage as I understood the significance of the NAO, and how and why they operate.

I received a call from HR a few weeks after I completed the assessment centre and my internship had finished, they informed me I was offered a place on the graduate scheme starting in 2015; I was delighted! I have now returned to the NAO as a graduate trainee and embarked on my career as an accountant.

Join us as an intern this summer!

Our summer internship programme is now open for applications (deadline: 19 February 2016).

Head over to the Windsor Fellowship website for further information on how to apply.

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