Newham CIPFA Grad Programme

Putting people at the heart of everything we do

Choosing your first post-graduation job isn’t easy. You want challenges, responsibility, opportunities to prove yourself and long-term options – something a finance career offers in abundance. But you also want it to mean something: to society as well as yourself. At Newham, you can have the best of both worlds. Our directly-elected mayor’s vision is to put People at the Heart of Everything We Do. Share our values, bring us your drive and talent, and we’ll help you to start building a legacy here – even as you become CIPFA-qualified.

Finance at Newham’s different

Different from the commercial sector; because it’s the people who call our Borough home who benefit from your hard work. This means different challenges; emerging technologies, evolving regulations, climate change or even the COVID-19 pandemic; the challenge of managing public sector finances has never been more complex – or critical to everyday life.

We’re different from other boroughs too. With the backing of our new Mayor, and our new senior leadership team, we’re revolutionising the way we work – and will ask you for big ideas and practical solutions that make our £1.5bn budget go further.

“We don’t just want to process numbers. We want better. We want to be more innovative and develop ways of working that add value to the lives of the residents of Newham.”

Conrad Hall

Corporate Director of Resources

Experiences that’ll shape your career

The four-year CIPFA programme will see you take on a series of placements, based in our modern Dockside offices, or at one of our other sites around the Borough.

The work’s strategic and practical; technical and people-led. You’ll spend time focusing on operations, from month and year ends to risk management. There’ll be opportunities to join project teams, potentially working directly with residents and businesses. And throughout, you’ll build the knowledge, experience and contacts to progress at speed.

The internationally-recognised CIPFA PQ

CIPFA is the only body to exclusively specialise in public finance. Its 14,000 members are leading figures in government, councils, audit agencies and all major accountancy firms, and its exams are sat by students in over 100 countries.

As well as giving you an exceptional understanding of the challenges the public sector faces and the tools to scale them; the CIPFA PQ is very flexible. You can choose to learn in the classroom, online or by distance. With all 12 papers online.

Finance or accountancy graduates can be exempted from some exams. However, 40% of current CIPFA students come from non-finance backgrounds.

Once qualified, you’ll be part of a close-knit professional community that enjoys access to exclusive events, accredited courses, e-learning and much more. Everything you need to excel in public finance.

The complete package

We’re focused on your wellbeing as well as your work. Which is why we offer rounded benefits as well as a competitive salary and contributory pension from day one.

  • Fantastic career progression

    More CIPFA members are senior managers in the UK than any other accountancy body.

  • Focused support

    Senior management mentors, helpful colleagues, and regular 1-2-1s with our Chief Executive.

  • Career-led training

    Meaningful placements and projects – plus full financial support towards your CIPFA PQ.

  • Great connections

    The office is two minutes from Royal Albert DLR and only 24 mins from Stratford.

  • Vital benefits

    Season ticket loan and discounts on gym membership and shopping.

  • Work life balance

    23 days’ leave plus bank holidays, remote working, study leave and flexitime.

  • Being a Newham CIPFA Graduate Trainee

    Over the course of the four-year programme, you’ll generally complete [number] placements with a focus on key finance operations and areas that reflect your interests. Together, they’ll be the foundation for your rise into a senior public
    sector career.

    Expect high-profile placements and projects, colleagues generous with their time and advice, and rapid on-the job development.

  • 1. Applying to Newham

    The first step is to fill in our Graduate Trainee application form below.

    If we think we might be the right council for you, we’ll invite you for an interview – currently on Zoom. It’s a chance for both you and us to see if the programme here at Newham is the right fit. If you’re successful and accept our offer; you’ll start on [date] (subject to the usual employment checks). We’ll also give you details on your first placement and manager.

  • 2. Induction

    Our induction process introduces you to the Borough, including our broader strategies, ambitions and projects, and takes a detailed look at the CIPFA qualification. You’ll also meet our senior leaders and your first placement’s line manager – plus your mentor and key colleagues who’ll support you during the early stages of the programme.

  • 3. First placement

    Your first placement will set the tone for the programme.
    This is real, live work – with colleagues – and the wider Borough – relying on you. By the end of it, you’ll have built up your confidence and already understand what a career at Newham means, and where it can take you.

    Between what you do in your role and learn through your course, you’ll have the skills and contacts to continue rapidly developing – during and long after your time here.

  • 4. Further placements

    Throughout the programme, we’ll keep you up to date with available projects and placements so you can make the best decision for your future. We’ll also talk through the options with you before you finish each assignment.

  • 5. Ongoing training

    We cover all the costs of your CIPFA training. And the resources you’ll have are comprehensive. The course covers a wealth of topics, from financial accounting, reporting and audit, to change management, taxation and fiscal strategy. And you can choose to learn in a classroom, online or at distance – whatever method suits you best.

  • 6. Graduation

    At the end of the four years, you’ll have a wealth of experience from your placements. Once you pass all 12 CIPFA exams, you’ll also qualify as a CIPFA professional.

    Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee you a permanent role on graduation. But the programme puts you in the best possible position to secure a permanent finance role here or at another council. 80% of members stay in the public sector after qualifying, and earn higher operational level salaries than other accounting professionals (CIPFA £32,000, CIMA £29,000 and ACCA £30,000).

  • Being a CIPFA
    Graduate Trainee
  • Applying to
  • Induction
  • First
  • Further
  • Ongoing
  • Graduation

The graduate view

We asked our trainees
– current and past – their
thoughts on the programme.

Who we’re looking for

Firstly, it’s important you have at least 2:1 degree. You also need a determination to succeed matched by a flair for analysis if you’re to tackle the technical challenges of becoming CIPFA-certified.

But equally, the programme here at Newham is designed for future leaders. It’s vital you also bring the ambition to take on challenges, and not merely deliver on what was agreed — but the very best that can be achieved.

You’ll be supported throughout: by your colleagues, and through learning and career opportunities. However, the focus will be on you to add vision and excellence to our finance operations and activities.

  • The ambition and tenacity to make a real difference here.
  • A talent for numbers and analysis.
  • The confidence to communicate with professionals of all levels, and the public.
  • Real commitment to the Borough and Newham’s community.
  • A strong work ethic and willingness to learn and grow.
Are you Newham material?
  • Can you drive change?

    To help one of the UK’s youngest populations, you’ll need to be full of ideas. You need a forward-thinking nature that inspires people and powers initiatives like our £1.4m expansion of youth services – London’s largest such initiative in over a decade.

  • Could you become a public sector finance leader?

    CIPFA is exclusively dedicated to improving the management of public sector organisations’ finances. We’re looking for a genuine drive to set new benchmarks for the industry – and understanding of the value to society your work can bring.

  • Do you value collaboration?

    Throughout the programme, you’ll build a network of contacts – in and outside the Council – that will be vital over the coming years. So bring your charisma and gravitas. These are people to bounce ideas off, get advice from, and give you the green light to make things happen.

  • Will you work with HEART?

    Our HEART values of Honesty, Equality, Ambition, Respect and Together guide our mission of putting people at the heart of everything we do. Even during the programme, you’ll make a big impression on our community. Imagine what you can do over the length of your career.

Newham at a glance

  • Youthful and diverse

    Our average age is 31.6 (London is 35.1). And we have the fewest people in England and Wales (58.6%) to use English as their first language, though 78.9% speak it well.

  • Culture and Commerce

    The new East Bank area is quickly becoming a leading arts and cultural quarter, welcoming the V&A, Sadler’s Wells, BBC Music Studios and the London College of Fashion; and we continue to develop London’s only enterprise zone, the £8bn Royal Docks.

  • Popular area

    With the iconic Thames Barrier and Olympic Parks – home of West Ham United – and the impressive Westfield Stratford, it’s no surprise Newham will account for 30% of London’s population growth over the next decade.

  • High achieving

    36% of our schools and colleges are ‘outstanding’ (England averages 20%) and have helped students beat the country average in primary school reading, writing and maths, and GCSEs.

The future of the Borough

East London – and Newham in particular – is booming. But we’re also the 12th most deprived Borough in the country. So even with our substantial investment into Stratford and Canning Town, and 25,000 new homes planned at Royal Docks, a key issue is housing – especially if we’re to welcome 30% of the capital’s population growth over the next 10 years.

Our pioneering Community Wealth Building Strategy aims to address that poverty by ensuring all new investments create a fairer and more prosperous Newham. Not least, the urban regeneration projects – with Shape Newham enhancing 18 public spaces, and our Town Centres Regeneration Strategy using environmental, social, and economic innovation to update our urban hubs.

Beyond this, we have a youthful population with great aspirations. Everything from youth clubs to career services, healthcare to schooling – we need to improve at everything if we’re to match the expectations of the Borough. It’s these challenges that will define your first years here.

Frequently asked questions

CIPFA Finance Graduate Trainee(s)

Our Finance Graduate Trainee programme will give you the perfect platform for a long-lasting public sector career. It’s tailored to give you a range of experiences of public sector finances, along with the professional accreditation to accelerate into more senior roles after the four years.

  • Series of placements with different teams within the council. Some will be operational; others will be project led – so you get a wide grounding in the work we do.
  • Full financial and personal support towards the CIPFA PQ qualification. The only specialised public sector finance accreditation involves 12 papers over three levels. We’ll cover all the costs, and give you study leave so you can focus on making the grade.
  • Strong peer network, with trainee and alumni-only events, direct relationships and one-to-one sessions with senior leaders, and a wide range of resources provided by CIPFA.

It’s important you have a real passion for public service. The work here is challenging, but rewarding – as everything you do benefits our 360,000 residents. Additionally, you’ll need:

  • At least a 2:1 degree in any subject (finance and accountancy graduates may be exempted from some CIPFA exams).
  • A proven flair for numbers and analysis.
  • The drive and commitment to balance study and live work.
  • Excellent communication skills and a knack for bringing the best out of those around you.
Embrace the New

Got the ambition to become a senior public sector figure? 4-year Graduate Finance programme with full CIPFA support

Finance Graduate Trainee


  • Finance
  • Posted: 894 days ago
  • Close Date: 21st December 2020

We are looking for ambitious graduates to join us and develop into qualified chartered accountants on our 4 year Finance Graduate Trainee programme.

Find out more

We are looking to develop the financial leaders of the future. In addition to the training package, we will provide the guidance and mentoring to develop your strategic and personal skills so that you can become a top finance professional.

We are looking for those who want to make a difference. Newham is the youngest borough in the country, but it’s also one of the most deprived. There is significant investment being made in improving the life chances of our young people, and in supporting the  local economy.

The work you will be doing provides the financial foundation and support for the front line teams who deliver crucial services for our residents. In short, your work will matter.

You’ll be a motivated graduate with a good degree in any subject. You’ll be numerate and possess good presentational, analytical and written skills. You’ll be keen to develop further.

To apply please complete the application form including a 1 page covering letter which evidences how you meet the requirements set out in the attached information sheet.

Apply Now
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