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Finance Graduate scheme

Having the time and space to succeed matters 

If finding a unique opportunity to understand different aspects of finance and how they interact with wider business matters to you. You matter to us.

Female rail graduate with long wavy hair smiles at her male colleague in the foreground against an orange wall.

Our Finance Graduate Scheme is designed to offer generous study support and plenty of time and opportunity to complete your qualification with minimal pressure and plenty of chances to apply your learning in the workplace. 

You’ll be mentored and guided by former graduates and senior finance leaders, who will empower you to grow and develop. Working independently, you’ll learn how to excel in high pressured environments. And, as we’re big believers in agile and flexible working and promoters of a diverse and inclusive culture, we’ll encourage you to bring your whole self to work every day. 


  • Your starting salary is  £26,500 (including regional allowances where relevant) plus a £2,000 welcome bonus 
  • The scheme lasts for two years.
  • Where you’ll be based: For the first 10-12 months, you’ll be based in Milton Keynes, with a three-month placement in Manchester. You’ll also spend one to two years based in one of our regional offices including Scotland and Wales. College is a mixture of online and classroom-based study (mainly in Milton Keynes) for the duration of the scheme (one day a week on average). This is subject to change depending on COVID related circumstances.

Who you are matters

We look for people with an analytical mind and a flair for financial planning. You’re enthusiastic about your work, enjoy collaborating with others and have the skills and ability to communicate with a variety of different audiences.

We invest in you and give you vast exposure to different areas and aspects of finance, because we believe you will be the future of our business. In return, we respect graduates who are driven, hardworking and uphold Network Rail’s values and behaviours.

What you’ll be doing

The Finance Graduate Scheme has rotational placements, with usually a college day release each week. You’ll gain experience in a variety of periodic management accounting activities such as balance sheet reconciliations, variance analysis and reporting. You’ll get involved in business partnering with non-finance functions and you’ll learn the main principles of finance including management accounting, project accounting, and business planning. You’ll be taught about business policy and regulations; the accounting processes; introduction to finance systems, finance reporting, accounts payable and receivable. You’ll also help to produce business cases to justify business spend.

Your time will be structured as follows:

First 3 months (September-December)

You’ll be based at Milton Keynes and complete several mini-placements in specialist finance teams. You’ll also complete your certificate level of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualification.

Next 3 months (January-March)

Subject to change depending on circumstances related to COVID

You’ll be based in Manchester with the Accounting Services and the Shared Services teams. Here you’ll learn about transactional accounting, before returning to Milton Keynes to complete a four to-six month corporate placement. You’ll continue to study the professional levels of CIMA whilst on placements in Manchester and Milton Keynes.

Remainder of the scheme

You’ll spend out in our route businesses within the regions. You’ll use the experience you’ve gained from projects, the understanding of transactional accounting and the knowledge of policies and procedures to add real value to the business areas you’ll be working in.

Due to the exposure and experience provided on the scheme, graduates are often in demand to complete high-profile projects for senior leaders. There’ll could be opportunities to develop your knowledge through external secondments, for example at HM Treasury or the Department for Transport too. The graduate programme also includes volunteer and development days with other graduates from your cohort.

We have introduced hybrid working and promote flexible and agile working in the offices, this can be agreed with your team and management.

What you’ll get out of it

You’ll complete the government’s level 7 apprentice programme and receive Associate status with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).

This could be Associate Chartered Management Accountant (ACMA) or Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA).

Your benefits matter

Welcome bonus icon

A £2,000 welcome bonus

Annual leave icon

28 days annual leave plus bank holidays

Volunteer days icon

5 volunteer days to contribute to your favourite causes

Employee assistance icon

Access to our employee assistance program

Discount on the rail icon

Up to 75% discount on rail and underground season tickets

Discounted online shopping icon

Discounted online shopping

Healthcare membership icon

Healthcare club membership discount

Childcare vouchers icon

Childcare vouchers

Pension schemes icon

Access to a range of pension and insurance schemes

Armed forces icon

Two weeks paid reserve leave for members of our Armed Forces community

The opportunities it leads to

The Finance Graduate scheme is very successful. Many graduates move on to senior positions within and outside the Finance function. Our scheme has been recognised by CIMA for outstanding exam performance with graduates often securing top ten positions in the world. This is because we recognise, develop, and promote talent. Past graduates have even gone on to become members of the Finance talent development scheme to further their own professional development.

The entry requirements

2:2 in any degree subject. A-level Maths is desirable but not essential. We’re more interested that you match our values and behaviours, have a curiosity for numbers and a keenness to succeed.

We matter to millions. You could too.

Applications are now closed

Due to the high interest in this programme, we have received enough applications for this intake . We will be accepting applications for our 2023 schemes in October 2022. To be the first to find out please register your interest below.

Discover a different scheme

If the Finance Graduate Scheme isn’t quite what you’re looking for, why not take a look at some of the other graduate schemes we have. You’ll find them here.

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