Who you are
You have an analytical mind and a flair for financial planning. You’re enthusiastic about your work, enjoy collaborating with others and have the skills and ability to communicate with a variety of different audiences.
This is an excellent scheme to be part of, we invest a lot in our graduates because we want them to be the future of our business. Therefore, we would like graduates who are driven, hardworking and who demonstrate the correct behaviours to apply. All of these qualities will help you to succeed on the scheme.
How long is the scheme?
From 2.5 to 3 years
Where you’ll be based
- First 10-12 months based in Milton Keynes, with a three-month placement in Manchester.
- Up to 2 years based in one of our regional offices including Scotland and Wales.
- College study is based in Milton Keynes for the duration of the scheme.
What you’ll be doing
Rotational placements, with a college day release each week (on average). You will be involved in a variety of periodic management accounting activities such as balance sheet reconciliations, variance analysis and reporting and business partnering with non-finance functions as well as project related tasks. Depending on eligibility, finance graduates are enrolled on the government’s level 7 apprentice programme.
The rotations within Finance are varied. Initially, you will sit with the Finance department in Milton Keynes and then you’ll be placed at locations around the country undertaking adhoc projects for Network Rail.
You will learn the main principles of Finance including, Investment, Tax and forecasting. You will be taught about business policy and regulations; the accounting process, how the systems work, data entry, accounts payable and receivable. You will also have the opportunity to see how funds are spent within the company and can help to produce business cases to justify business spend.
Your first 3 months (September-December) will be based at Milton Keynes, completing several mini placements whilst also completing your certificate level of CIMA. Your next 3 months (January-March) are spent in Manchester familiarising yourself with the Accounting Services team and the Shared Services teams. You will then return to Milton Keynes and complete a 3-month Corporate placement. You will continue to study the professional levels of CIMA whilst on placement Manchester and Milton Keynes.
The remainder of your time on the scheme will be spent out in our route businesses. You can utilise the experience you have gained from projects, the understanding of the back-end process and the knowledge of policies and procedures to add real value to the business areas you will be working in. You can also develop your knowledge via external secondments (e.g. a placement at HM Treasury) and will be encouraged to attend volunteer and development days with other graduates from your course.
Outside of the scheme, you’ll be authorised a day release every week to attend college, which you’ll attend with the fellow graduates.
You’ll work towards their Chartered accountancy accreditation (and are supported by your line manager in developing your PDP).
Graduates are often the first port of call when senior leaders require assistance on projects, giving you good exposure and experience of the wider business.
- 2:2 in any degree subject
- A-level Maths is desirable but not essential
What professional qualifications could you gain?
- Associate Chartered Management Accountant (ACMA)
- Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
- Graduates can reach a level 7 apprenticeship.
What opportunities are available at the end of the scheme?
The Finance scheme is very successful, with a lot of graduates now holding senior positions within the function. This is because we recognise, develop and promote talent. Previous graduates have gone on to become members of the Finance talent development scheme to further their own professional development, with Network Rail as a certified body.
Why you should choose this scheme
The scheme gives graduates a unique opportunity to see many parts of the business while making a contribution from early on. The study support is generous compared to other finance schemes, with time and space given to make sure graduates can get through the qualification with minimal pressure. Former graduates and senior finance leaders run and mentor the scheme and all graduates are encouraged to contribute to improving and developing the scheme.
The Finance scheme is unique as all of our graduates have independence, whilst being supported throughout. Graduates get constant feedback, so they know how they are progressing. There is lots of support: they have Buddies (who are a year above grads), Line managers, and a Scheme Manage. Plus, it’s a great working culture – and offers flexible working. NR is a unique company where you are a massive stakeholder. You have a say in everything they do.
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