My surprising journey to becoming a trainee at the Wales Audit Office

As part of our graduate recruitment campaign, we asked some of our current trainees to blog about why they first applied and what life is like on the Wales Audit Office graduate programme.

Here, Anwen Worthy writes about her personal reflections. To find out more about the scheme, and how to apply, please visit our website [opens in new window].

Three years ago I was starting the final year of a French and English Literature degree at Cardiff University – and if you’d told me that today I would be a part-qualified accountant looking at the finances of organisations across the Welsh public sector I wouldn’t have believed you!

I had started my degree being sure that it would end with me completing a PGCE, and working as a teacher. However, after spending my third year working as a teaching assistant in a secondary school in Belgium I decided that teaching wasn’t for me at that stage.

This left me back at the drawing board with regards to potential careers! I had always been good at maths in school, studying it to A Level, and I wanted to do something that would make a difference – therefore I started looking at public sector finance roles and graduate schemes, which is how I ended up applying to the Wales Audit Office.

From the day of my assessment centre, every member of Wales Audit Office staff that I came into contact with was friendly and welcoming, and more than willing to answer my questions. I decided that it was definitely an environment I wanted to work in – and fortunately they offered me a place on the graduate scheme and I started working here at the end of June 2016.

Since then I have worked on financial audits looking at the accounts of local government bodies (such as councils), NHS health boards and small central government bodies (such as Estyn). I have had fantastic support from colleagues who have always been more than happy to help me with anything I didn’t understand (there’s definitely no such thing as a stupid question)!

I’m now half-way through my professional ACA exams and, again, the support that we have been given has been really good. The way that our studies are structured allows considerable breaks between study periods, and the very generous annual leave (up to 41 days including bank holidays and study leave) gives plenty of time for relaxing as well as taking time off to revise.

This year I have been given the opportunity to work in the other practice of the Wales Audit Office – performance audit. This broadly involves looking at value for money and economy, efficiency and effectiveness across the Welsh public sector.

Once again, I was warmly welcomed into my new team and have had lots of support in my different role. Amongst other things, I have had an opportunity to work on a report into the Welsh Government’s relationship with Pinewood Studios, and to be involved in the work that the Audit Office does to support the Senedd’s Public Accounts Committee.

Overall, I would never have imagined the opportunities and experiences that working for the Wales Audit Office would have given me, and it is a fantastic place to work if you want to train as an accountant as well as being involved in work that has a real impact on the Welsh public sector.

About the author

Anwen WorthyAnwen Worthy is a third year trainee and graduated from Cardiff University in 2016 with a degree in French and English.

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