Future Finance Leaders - Trainee Accountant Programme

We are delighted to again offer this unique Trainee Accountant training programme

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  • We will work with you to ensure you have a PDP plan to enhance your workplace skills.

Future Finance Leaders - Trainee Accountant Programme


Thank you for your interest in these exciting opportunities.

We are delighted to again offer this unique Trainee Accountant training programme which is ideal if you are looking to start or develop your career in local government finance.

Our training programme offers you an excellent grounding in a variety of roles within our Finance team, whilst being fully supported to study a professional accountancy qualification with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).

This is an opportunity for you to work within an excellent performing Council during an exciting time. We are working to empower budget managers and develop our added value offer to our internal and external clients, whilst supporting services to be commercially aware and identify opportunities for generating additional income streams.

If you have the desire and dedication to work in local government finance, then we would like to hear from you.

We offer several entry routes and your level of qualification does not change your progression through the programme. You may be:

  • A school leaver with a desire to commence your career journey, whilst studying for a professional qualification;
  • A graduate looking for a career-graded opportunity; or
  • Association of Accounting Technician (AAT) qualified already working within a finance environment and looking to further develop your career.

We would be interested to know more if you feel you are:

  • Articulate and can communicate effectively;
  • Customer focused and can build positive working relationships with both colleagues and clients;
  • A good problem solver and can make productive decisions;
  • Flexible, with the desire to add value and continuous improvements where possible;
  • A potential leader for the future.

Over recent years we have successfully recruited a number of Trainee Accountants to our programme and below, you can find out more about how some of them have found the programme so far.

Meet Chris, Emily & Zoe who were successful on our 2017 intake, and recently promoted to Accountant. Watch their videos to find out more about our programme and working for our team. 

Our Future Finance Leaders Programme

It is an exciting time to join the Finance team as we are transforming the way in which we offer financial services to budget managers and external customers. Working in a modern and agile way, you will be an ambassador for customer self-help, as you support budget managers to monitor and manage their own budgets. You will be an enabler to managers and will influence and challenge as appropriate.

Based within the Finance team of around 70 staff, the service provides financial advice and support across the Council, as well as to other partners including Selby District Council, Ryedale District Council and North York Moors National Park Authority. The programme provides the opportunity to work across all fields of professional accountancy with a variety which would be difficult to find elsewhere.

You will support a wide range of front-line services including Children and Young People’s Services, Health and Adult Services, Business and Environmental Services and also the Brierley Group of companies which are all separate legal entities either wholly or partly owned by North Yorkshire County Council. In addition, you will have the opportunity to help support the Council’s commercial agenda. 

Chris Chapman - What kind of projects have you been involved in?

As well as financial management roles you will also have exposure to a range of technical disciplines within the team, including: statutory accounts production, financial systems, treasury management, VAT and taxation. Together, this wide ranging experience will give you the grounding you’ll need for senior management within the sector.

Whilst being supported to study for your professional qualification, we will work with you to ensure you have a personal development plan to enhance your workplace skills, which will complement your studies. As part of the programme, you will also benefit from one day off each year to volunteer and will have the opportunity to develop and implement a community based project, which helps your understanding of the communities we serve. 

Zoe Inman - What is the support like within the Finance team, what stood out for you?

As part of our training programme, we also offer you:

  • Full funding and support towards achievement of the CIPFA professional qualification;
  • A generous study package to complete your studies, in addition to revision modules to support your learning;
  • Structured support from qualified accountants who have completed the programme;
  • Leadership and management training;
  • Project management experience;
  • Long term career prospects with range and diversity;
  • A range of technologies to support modern ways of working; and
  • A comprehensive benefits package.

As a trainee within the Finance team, you will also develop your managerial skills, through the Aspiring Managers and Leadership Programme and will have regular access to a Head of Finance who will provide you with support.  We will also ensure you are supported through your studies by a colleague who has personal experience of gaining the qualification themselves with the Council.

Zoe Inman - What attracted you to apply for the Future Leaders - Trainee Accountant programme?

If you want to become an expert on public sector finance, the best place to start is by studying the CIPFA Professional Qualification, which is the only specialist qualification for the sector.

A CIPFA qualification gives you the industry recognition and skills you need to plan public services delivery and to commission major providers.

You will achieve this qualification as part of completing the Accountancy Professional Level 7 Apprenticeship. You will be supported by a learning coach to achieve your Apprenticeship and to support you to achieve the required skills and develop behaviours through on the job training.

At the end of the Apprenticeship, you will be professionally qualified with considerable experience of accountancy in a range of roles in Finance.

Zoe Inman - How long is the programme and what do you have to do?

For more information on the qualification and its benefits visit: https://www.cipfa.org/qualifications/apprenticeships

Hear what some of our current Trainee Accountants say about the programme

What would be your advice to potential applicants? 

My advice to potential applicants would be to spend time researching the council, local government finance and the role you have applied for. Your motivation for the role really is fundamental. Take plenty of time when completing your application and consider how best to convey your strengths, hard-working ethic and desire to work in local government finance, but be sure to let your personality filter through too!

In terms of studying, the transition to balancing full-time work, study and home life can undoubtedly be challenging. My advice here would be to keep your end goal of becoming a fully qualified CIPFA Accountant at the forefront of your mind throughout. Being organised and managing your time effectively is also crucial. I try to study in the evening and sometimes during my lunch break when exams are fast approaching. Although it can be challenging, it is immensely rewarding when you receive your exam results, knowing your hard-work has paid off. 

The schools & early years team are responsible for a variety of tasks, including calculating the national funding formula for both schools and early years’ providers, completing final balance statements for academy conversions and agreeing those statements with the academy trusts, and undertaking the analyses behind reports taken to a number of forums and committees such as the North Yorkshire schools forum and area constituency committees. The work I have been involved in whilst on the team supports North Yorkshire’s schools which are in financial difficulty, encouraging these schools to create and implement recovery plans to ensure they return to a surplus balance in the near future. As with all services in the current economic climate, schools are subject to extreme pressures and the ability to retain a healthy financial position is continuously challenged. 

What additional opportunities does the programme offer? 

As part of the trainee programme, I recently completed a six-week placement with internal audit. This was a great opportunity to put what I had learned from CIPFA’s audit and assurance module into practice. Within this placement, I shadowed opening audit meetings, met with service area managers to understand their processes and internal control mechanisms, and even undertook some audit testing of my own. The audit placement is a perfect example of how the Trainee Accountant programme offers a number of opportunities in addition to work experience within the team and studying as a CIPFA apprentice to enhance your knowledge of a variety of areas within local government finance. 

Gary Fielding is the Corporate Director, strategic resources for North Yorkshire County Council and has been in this post now for over 7 years. His role covers not only finance, but also ICT, property, procurement and corporate performance management. Gary has spent most of his career with North Yorkshire County Council, although his very first experience of local government was when he joined as a temporary street sweeper in Blackpool, before deciding to train as an Accountant with CIPFA on the council’s Trainee Accountant programme. He has worked in a number of middle and senior financial manager roles and was an Assistant Chief Executive before becoming Corporate Director.

Chris Chapman - If you were to recommend the programme can you give reasons to why you would recommend?

We pride ourselves on being an employer of choice, offering a range of training and development opportunities and career progression allowing you to manage your own development journey and empowering you to control your career. We positively encourage flexible working and we provide you with the technology which supports working from a variety of locations. 

In addition to your salary we offer a range of great benefits to help you financially make life a bit easier. From childcare vouchers, travel loans, shopping and gym discounts to name but a few you can find more information on the range of benefits we offer within our  total rewards brochure (pdf / 380 KB).

Emily Brayshaw - What are the benefits of working for North Yorkshire County Council?

About the role and how to apply

Minimum Requirements 

2 Level 3 qualifications Grade A to C (e.g. A Level or equivalent) in addition to 5 Level 2 qualifications Grade A to C (e.g. GCSE or equivalent), including numeracy and literacy, or Association of Accounting Technicians qualified. 

Whatever your current circumstances (for example you may be a school leaver or looking for a career change), provided that you meet the above requirements your application will be considered. 

Emily Brayshaw - What qualifications did you have to apply?


Following the outbreak of Covid-19, the Finance service is currently successfully working from home, making good use of the technology that we have with all meetings conducted remotely through Skype and Teams. It is anticipated that this arrangement will continue for the foreseeable future. Due to the nature of the service, it is considered that the role will benefit from flexible working going forward with work taking place both at home and in the office, based at County Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 8AE.


Subject to achievement of each level of professional qualification, this is a permanent post with a four-year training programme (though candidates may complete the qualification within a shorter timescale). The following incremental salary will apply, subject to achievement of each level of professional qualification and satisfactory performance against targets.

Starting at £20,493 whilst studying the Professional Certificate, increasing to £24,982 upon completion.
Salary will be £24,982 whilst studying the Professional Diploma, increasing to £30,451 upon completion.
Salary will be £30,451 whilst studying the Strategic Level of the qualification, increasing to £32,910 by annual progression based on performance and behaviours.


  • Full funding and support towards completion of the CIPFA professional qualification;
  • Career development from day one;
  • Peer support and development with other Trainee Accountants;
  • Study and exam leave;
  • Management training;
  • Opportunity for volunteering and community based project;
  • Access to a wide range of training and development events as well as extensive on-the-job training;
  • Annual leave starting at 23 days plus 8 public holidays;
  • Contributory pension scheme;
  • Flexible working policy and culture;
  • Working with a well-established and supportive team.

Emily Brayshaw - What is your personal view of the programme? What has your experience been of the apprenticeship route?

How to Apply 

You can apply for the Future Finance Leaders – Trainee Accountant Programme below.  Please read the guidance below to help you in completing the supporting evidence section of the application form.

Please note that CVs and applications from agents will not be accepted.

Key Dates

Closing date: Sunday 21st March
Microsoft Teams Interviews:  Week commencing Monday 29th March
Online Assessment: Week commencing Monday 5th April 
Final Interview and Assessment Days: Week commencing Monday 19th April
(you will only need to attend one Assessment Day - the specific date will be confirmed following the telephone interviews)

For an informal discussion about the programme, please contact Vicki Dixon, Assistant Director, Strategic Resources BES & CS on 01609 53 2206 or email Vicki.Dixon@northyorks.gov.uk

Key Documents:
 CIPFA PQ Brochure (pdf / 3 MB)

Application Pack:
 Job description / person specification  (pdf / 729 KB)

 Finance Competency Framework (pdf / 325 KB)



Guidance notes on completing your application form

Your application form is the initial way that we assess your capability and potential. Therefore, it is important you take the time to really focus on your application form. We will use this information to shortlist the applications that we receive and it is your opportunity to tell us why you are suitable for the job.

Please ensure that you address the following in the supporting evidence section of the application form.

1. We would like to understand why you have applied for the Future Finance Leaders – Trainee Accountant Programme by including examples of how you are:

  • Articulate and can communicate effectively;
  • Customer focused and can build positive working relationships with both colleagues and clients;
  • A good problem solver and can make productive decisions;
  • Flexible, with the desire to add value and continuous improvements where possible;
  • A potential leader for the future.

2. You will also need to reference how you meet the requirements of the competence framework within the person specification.  

3. Finally, please tell us what impact you think you will have if you are appointed to the programme.

Refer to any examples you can give to provide evidence of your skills and knowledge.   

Think about what you have done in the past: at home, at school, at college, in paid work, unpaid work or in a hobby. For example, being active in a club or other group can show teamwork, communication or organising skills. 

It is not essential for you to have worked in a role in Accountancy / Finance to be shortlisted for this role. However, if you do have any relevant experience please include this. For example, reading or research around the subject area or you may have practical experience such as helping a community activity / charity with their book-keeping / finances. 

We are interested in applicants who are willing to learn both in their studies and in the workplace, and can demonstrate their enthusiasm to study for the CIPFA Professional Qualification whilst working. This will require dedication and hard work, so think about how you can evidence this in your application. You may already have some work experience through weekend / part-time working or full-time working whilst you have been studying. You may have been involved in groups / activities in addition to your studies e.g. sports teams. 

By telling us about any other activities, this helps to demonstrate how you may then be a suitable candidate for this role. You may also wish to tell us about some pieces of work / projects you have undertaken which have received positive feedback and may have been achieved with competing demands on your time. This is a good way to evidence not only your work quality, but also your work throughput. 

As a guide, in order to cover all of the above points a word count for your supporting evidence of between 1200 and 1500 words is recommended.


You will need to provide the names of two referees within your application. If applicable, one should be your current / most recent employer (your line manager) and the second a previous employer or someone who can give information relevant to the job. If you are a school or college leaver, you may have had a part time / weekend or holiday job which you can use to provide a reference. You can also give the name of your Head Teacher or Tutor. 

References provided by relatives, friends or people with whom you live are not acceptable. Use someone who knows your capabilities and is aware of your potential. References will only be taken up if you are offered the position. 

It is advisable for you to contact your referees at an early stage to let them know that you wish to give their name and ensure that they are willing to act as a referee.