start-femaleThe second part of our ‘Trainee-in-waiting’ series features Emily Ward, who will become an NAO trainee as of next week. In her post, Emily reflects on her application and shares her anticipations for the traineeship.

Emily, why did you apply to the NAO?

When I completed my masters, I wanted to pursue a career in finance but also find a job where I could apply my masters in developing government institutions. The NAO graduate scheme offered a blend between the two by allowing me to train for an accountancy qualification whilst working on projects within government bodies. The variety of departments you could be assigned to appealed to me as it would ensured the job remained interesting, whilst the NAO appeared to invest in developing their employees’ skills and career prospects.

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

I found the initial part of the process was very similar to other graduate scheme applications. However, the NAO process stood out because I was able to meet people who I could be working with. Compared with other assessment centres, I felt the NAO tasks were more aligned with the job I was applying for but was structured so I could think about each task and positively show my skills. Aside from each task, the assessors were extremely friendly and appeared to have a genuine interest in me and why I was applying for the role. It was this aspect that aided my decision in choosing to work for the NAO.

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

I wish that I knew more about the people and how much they enjoyed their experience at the NAO. During the assessment centre, there was the opportunity to speak with 3 employees, who really seemed to enjoy working there. They gave an honest insight into what working there would be like but also how it would compare with the private sector. This is something that was overlooked elsewhere and helped reiterate why I wanted to work at the NAO.

Any tips for next year’s applicants?

For my interview, I tried to think of the core competencies that the NAO sought from their candidates and prepared some answers that I thought would highlight these skills. I also thought about why I wanted to work at the NAO and what my long-term goals were. For the assessment centre, I found that it was good practice to read some of the reports that were published on the graduate site. This helped me to see what areas the NAO review when they evaluate compliance and value for money.

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

As I’m currently using my summer working as an au pair, I’m particularly looking forward to getting back to the office and finding out which cluster I’ll be working in! I am also looking forward to meeting the other people on my intake and getting started on the accountancy exams.

Would you like to join Emily next year?

We will soon be accepting applications for our 2017 graduate training scheme.

Sign up for our email alerts and be the first to know when the scheme opens.

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