For me, the main attraction of working at Audit Scotland was getting the chance to use my university degree to help make a difference to the public services provided in Scotland. It’s an extremely satisfying feeling to know I’m part of an organisation that makes sure public bodies are using their resources in a proper, efficient and effective way.
Being a trainee at Audit Scotland is great. You get to work on various clients and projects throughout the year. My main audit is Glasgow City Council, but I also work on the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board as well as the Scottish Police Authority. And you get a lot of support and guidance from colleagues; help is always there when you need it.
What I enjoy most is getting to work and study toward the ICAS qualification. You gain valuable on the job experience as well as learning the technical knowledge needed to progress within your role. If you’re fresh out of university, you’ll still feel like a student during the ICAS blocks, so it’s the best of both worlds.
I’m regularly encouraged to pursue development opportunities. For example, I was asked last year to sit on the Girlguiding Scotland Business Management and Finance Committee as an external member. This involves attending four meetings a year and has been a valuable experience as it’s given me an insight into a completely different organisation in Scotland.
Many other training courses are advertised internally throughout the year. I’ve completed an excel course and can finally use pivot tables!
I did find the recruitment and induction process daunting, as it was my first experience of a recruitment process as I was straight out of university, but I found the communication and the support offered by Audit Scotland very reassuring.
My top tips for anyone thinking of applying to Audit Scotland’s graduate trainee scheme would be to prepare for the interview, in particular the competency based questions. There is a lot of resource available online, and it helps to research Audit Scotland and the work they do. Finally, if you get asked to prepare a presentation in advance then make sure you know it inside out and be ready for questions.
About the author
Zahrah Mahmood joined Audit Scotland as a trainee in October 2012 having completed her degree in Accountancy at Glasgow Caledonian University.