Finance training opportunities

We offer a unique training programme for you to develop your career in local government finance.

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Future finance leaders - trainee accountant programme

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.

This is an opportunity for you to work within an excellent performing council during an exciting time as we combine all of the services previously provided by the county, districts and borough councils. Empowering budget managers and developing our added value offer are key aims for our service. This means you will have opportunities to make a real difference to our clients and the communities we serve.

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 wanting to begin your career whilst studying for a professional qualification
  • a graduate looking for a career-graded opportunity
  • association of Accounting Technician 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

About the role and how to apply

Minimum requirements

You will need:

  • two level 3 qualifications grade A to C, for example, A level or equivalent
  • give level 2 qualification grade A to C, for example, GCSE or equivalent including numeracy and literacy

You may be a school leaver, a graduate or AAT qualified – provided that you meet these requirements, your application will be considered.


All of our teams are officially office based and these training roles will be based at County Hall, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL7 8AE.

Following the outbreak of Covid-19, the finance service, like many others, successfully worked from home, making good use of the technology that we have, with all meetings conducted remotely through Skype and Teams.

We have now transitioned to hybrid working with some time spent in the office and some time at home. Bringing individuals and teams together physically to collaborate and build strong working relationships is a key part of our operating model, but we also know first-hand how working from home can help us to be more productive and achieve a better work / life balance.


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.

Our benefits include:

  • a competitive salary with pay upgrades as you progress through the professional qualification
  • full funding and support towards completion of the CIPFA 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 24 days plus eight public holidays
  • contributory pension scheme
  • flexible working policy and culture
  • working with a well-established and supportive team

How to apply

Please read the guidance on this page 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: Tuesday 30 April 2024
Telephone interviews: week commencing 13 May 2024
Final interview and assessment dates: week commencing 3 June 2024


For an informal discussion about the programme, please contact us

Key documents 

 CIPFA PQ Brochure (pdf / 3 MB)

 Job description / person specification (pdf / 909 KB)

 Competency framework (pdf / 115 KB)

Apply now

Our future finance leaders programme

Our future finance leaders programme

It is an exciting time to join the finance team. Working in a modern, flexible 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, supporting them through the transition to the new council and will influence and challenge as appropriate.

Based within the existing council’s finance team, the service provides financial advice and support across the council, as well as to other partners, including the 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.

As we look to the future, you will support a wide range of front-line services such as schools and early years services, adult social care, highways and waste services, and also a number of companies which are all separate legal entities either wholly or partly owned by the council. In addition, you will have opportunity to help support the council’s commercial agenda. 

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. 

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
  • 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.

Professional qualification

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.

For more information on the qualification and its benefits, visit the CIPFA website.

A man working at a computer.

Hear what some of our current trainee accountants say about the programme

Emma Brown, business partnering services team

"I previously worked in the private sector as an assistant accountant for a telecommunications company. I decided I wanted to make a change and contribute more to society so I looked for an organisation that is driven by providing a quality service to the public rather than profit to shareholders and applied for my current role with the council."

What is it like working as a trainee accountant on the future finance leaders programme?

"The future finance leaders programme has provided me with the opportunity to work on a community based project, which involved myself and three other trainees to compile, organise and deliver a finance workshop to a local secondary school. I have also attended training courses which have helped shape me as a future finance leader such as the aspiring managers course and the senior manager’s seminars.

As I have progressed through the programme I have been given work that is relevant to both my CIPFA modules and my level of experience to ensure I gain the valuable knowledge and skills to become a finance Leader. 

The exposure that I have been given in meeting senior managers has been invaluable as it has provided an insight into some of the journeys individuals have taken to becoming a leader. Each journey is very different and highlights some of the challenges that I may face as a future finance leader."

Emma Wright, strategic financial planning team

What advice would you give 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."

Rachel Brown, schools and early years team

"The schools and 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."

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Previous trainee videos 

Over recent years we have successfully recruited a number of trainee accountants to our programme and you can find out more about how some of them found the programme in videos they filmed.

Emily Bradshaw - what qualification did you have to apply?

Watch this video to find out what qualifications previous trainees have had to apply.

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

Watch this video of Emily Brayshaw describing her experience on the programme.

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

Watch this video to find out about the kinds of projects you could be involved in on the programme.

Zoe Inman - what is the support like within the finance team?

Watch this video to find out about the support available within the finance team.

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

Watch this video to find out how long the programme is and what kinds of things you can do.

A man smiling in an office.

Working for us - what we can offer you

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 page.

Watch this video of Emily Brayshaw talking about the benefits of working for North Yorkshire Council.

Application tips

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 / Trainee Accountant Technician programme. Please include 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 show 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 or 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 or activities in addition to your studies, for example, 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. we recommend a word count for your supporting evidence of between 1,200 and 1,500 words.


You will need to provide the names of two referees within your application. If applicable, one should be your current / most recent employer, that is, your line manager and the second should be 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.