The Dazzling Life of a Finance Grad
08 Dec 2017
It’s been a couple of months since my last Blog, and I know you’ve missed me, so I thought I’d write again. The last one was full of life and optimism, still fresh from the excitement of joining the scheme. This one is a bit more gritty and honest about what it is really like being a Finance Trainee in the NHS, now the bright and shininess has worn off. By now your applications will be in and you’ll be twiddling your thumbs waiting for that delightful email inviting you to an interview – I wish you the best of luck and feel free to email me if you need tips for the interviews.
The main thing I can tell you about the last 2 months is that it’s been busy. So busy I can barely remember what I was doing last week, let alone month, but I’ll give it a good go. Once orientation is over, you work in the office full time. This started off a little slow for me, because being so new and not knowing anything about Finance it was hard to feel useful from day-to-day. You are also mainly responsible for your own development, you have to ask about everything and search for work you will find interesting – which is hard when you are surrounded by senior NHS managers. It gives you the freedom to be involved in a variety of projects/tasks and allows you to find out how much you can handle (which turns out isn’t a lot at the moment). Being a finance trainee, you are very limited in the complexity of work you can get involved in at the beginning. This is on the up though, as you get underway with CIPFA, everything starts becoming clearer and you can apply the lectures to the day job.
You’ve caught me at a perplexing time, as our Finance exams are a mere 5 days away from now. We’re at panic stations right now, and stress levels are high. You have a full time job and the Diploma in Health Leadership to deal with alongside CIPFA, so there literally aren’t enough hours in the day to be on top of all three at once. Even if you were to manage it, you wouldn’t have a social life – and we all know this is of high importance. Therefore you have to have exceptional time management. I know people go on and on about time management in interviews/ assessments/ uni, and I’d always roll my eyes and just plod along. It wasn’t until now I realise that if you don’t, you run the risk of everything blowing up in your face which would lead to tears, ranting and unemployment (just kidding). The days of binge watching TV are over and it’s time to be a grown-up (80% of the time at least).
I’m not always doom and gloom, so I’ll tell you about all the fun stuff you will get up to on the scheme which balances the stress levels. We have had events all over the country in different groups/cohorts, which brings all the grads together. This is super fun because once the day is over you have bonding time with everyone (usually at the pub), and even in the last few months, people have grown really close which makes all these trips all the more exciting. They are so regular that it sometimes feels like I’m never in the office which keeps it interesting. You also have ample opportunities to experience the NHS out of the ‘back office.’ For instance, last week some graduates in the South West went to Plymouth for a hospital visit, we had a tour or all the facilities and lectures from the Military and University which was really good because it was all about a part of the NHS I wasn’t aware of. I’m telling you, if you were going to pick a mastermind topic it can never be the NHS, no matter how long you spend working in it.
Follow me on twitter at @acopelandNHS if you have any questions, and if you need tips on how to dazzle your interviewers with your amazingness, let me know.