National Audit Office

School Leaver Accountancy Scheme - Newcastle

What we offer

Our fully funded five-year school leaver scheme leads to qualification as a chartered accountant (ACA). It’s a fantastic opportunity to get a professional qualification without incurring the debt of going to university. At the same time, you’ll be earning a competitive salary and getting involved in interesting and challenging work.

About the NAO

The NAO is an independent public body that helps Parliament hold government to account for how taxpayers’ money is spent. In our unique role we work with a host of government departments and bodies to provide assurance to Parliament through our audit work. We add value to government by supporting its drive to improve public services. Our vision is to “help the nation spend wisely.”

How does the NAO school leaver scheme work?

You’ll spend the first two years studying for the Certificate in Finance, Accounting and Business (CFAB). After successfully completing CFAB, you’ll spend a further three years studying to become a fully qualified chartered accountant (ACA) through the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). It’s not all about study and exams though. When you’re not in college you’ll be putting into practice what you’ve learned by working with experienced colleagues on a range of high profile clients.

The CFAB and ACA qualifications require lots of hard work and dedication on your part but you’ll also enjoy a range of support along the way:

  • First class tuition run by a leading provider, giving you guidance and support throughout your studies.
  • Generous study leave and revision courses so you can best prepare for your exams.
  • Block release at each exam stage, meaning you won’t have to juggle work commitments and study pressures.
  • Relevant work experience at the NAO that allows you to put what you study into practice.
  • An excellent system of support from NAO colleagues who will oversee your development and assign your work portfolios. Our trainees really value the support they receive from managers, the majority of whom qualified at the NAO and have been in their shoes.

What do we look for in an applicant?

There is no such thing as a typical NAO school leaver trainee. Successful candidates come from a diverse range of backgrounds and may have studied any A level subjects (or equivalent). You don’t need to have studied maths or a finance-related A level to succeed on the scheme. We do however have some minimum criteria you will need to meet:

  • 300 UCAS points or equivalent from your top three A level grades (or equivalent). General Studies does not count. If you have 280 UCAS points (or equivalent) you may be eligible to apply based on the context of your educational and personal circumstances – please contact us for further details.
  • 5 GCSEs at grade A* to C including Maths and English.
  • You must be a UK, Commonwealth, EEA or Swiss national to comply with Civil Service nationality rules and must hold a valid work permit. We are not able to sponsor work visas.

Pay and benefits

We have a competitive reward package which includes:

  • A starting salary of £18,122 (Newcastle) which will increase year-on-year and be subject to increases for success in exams to take it around £30,000 (Newcastle).
  • 22 days holiday + 8 public holidays
  • 25 weeks of college study leave over the three-year programme, allowing trainees time away from the office to concentrate on studying.
  • An on-site gym and activity centre at our London office and a cash subsidy for local gym membership in Newcastle.
  • An interest-free season ticket loan for travel to work.
  • An attractive and secure pension scheme funded through significant employer contributions.
  • A calendar of social events, from quizzes to sporting events organised by the NAO Sports and Social Association.

How can school leavers find out more about NAO?

Click to find out more about why you should join us!

Teachers and parents

Planning to discuss careers or university with teenagers? Get up to speed on their options and employability prospects with our help.

Explore options

Sign up for careers alerts and access to our careers publications

Sign up Sign in