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The last time I attended the Birmingham Graduate Recruitment Fair I was on the other side of the fence. I was young(er), naïve(er) and also a bit thinner. This time I went as a recruiter. As it turns out this time there was more pressure and considerably more talking! However trainees spend much of their time talking with clients, […]

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Careers fair in Birmingham or “You don’t need an accounting degree to apply… honest!”

Posted on November 15, 2013 by

Birmingham careers fair team
The last time I attended the Birmingham Graduate Recruitment Fair I was on the other side of the fence. I was young(er), naïve(er) and also a bit thinner. This time I went as a recruiter. As it turns out this time there was more pressure and considerably more talking! However trainees spend much of their time talking with clients, and I have three years of experience at the NAO; so I figured I would be alright.

The fair started out innocuously: got to Euston, jumped on the train and had a smooth journey up to Birmingham International Station. The walk to hall 11 of the NEC is a long but uneventful one, but made interesting by looking into the halls under construction (huge!) and the stats about Birmingham that line the skywalk (yes it is true that Birmingham has more mileage of canal ways that Venice).

I arrived at the fair hall and couldn’t find the stand. I managed to miss the big red signs that shouted “Big On” and the big red box of the campaign. Luckily, this is not something the graduates managed to do, as once the team was there and the T-shirt tower was built, we were an attractive and welcoming site.

Both days saw numbers rise in the morning before falling for lunch, then rising again once the second wave of students had arrived after their customary late mornings. The crowd were a mix of young and older, undergrads and postgrads; each with different takes on financial audit and the NAO.

The main task for us was to eliminate the notion that only accounting and finance degrees were eligible for the ACA graduate scheme. Many were the time when graduates would walk past muttering about how incredible it would be had they only picked the right degree. We swooped in while telling them to hold and chat a while before delivering the critical line that we looked at all degree backgrounds. Incredibly it generally worked!

The big box however was the star of the show. The graduates loved it, other exhibitors loved it, and we loved the fact that it was an easy sell. It served as a great talking point and helped dispel the notion that accountants have no fun. We had some characters, and it all got a little bit crazy (take a look at the Big On box photos to see for yourself)!

At the end of the two days we had spoken with many graduates that had great potential to join the NAO. We have now finished the annual tour of careers fairs, the last being on 14 November. The application window will close in December, so to those of you reading this who wish to apply but have not done so yet I strongly recommend you do sooner than later!

As a team of exhibitors we have had tremendous fun travelling to the various fairs to meet prospective graduates. We hope that we conveyed a sense of fun and energy that acted to inspire those that attended to apply; and to those that do, I wish you the best of luck in your application.


Any questions? Join our Twitter Q&A on 18 November 2013

Have you got any questions around applying for our graduate scheme?

Rob from our recruitment team and Hannah, one of our trainee bloggers, will be available on Monday, 18 November 2013, from 4-5pm on Twitter (@naograduatejobs). Post your questions during the event and get an answer straight away.

If you cannot make the event, please tweet us beforehand @naograduatejobs and we will make sure to answer your questions during the live session.

Hashtag: #AskNAOgrads


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