Our Finance scheme for graduates

Who you are

You have 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.

This is an excellent scheme which provides exposure to different areas and aspects of finance. We invest in our graduates because we want them to be the future of our business. We are looking for graduates who are driven, hardworking and and uphold Network Rail’s values and behaviours.

How long is the scheme?

From 2.5 to 3 years

Where you’ll be based

  • First 10-12 months based in Milton Keynes, with a three-month placement in Manchester.
  • Up to 2 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).

What you’ll be doing

Rotational placements, with a college day release each week (on average). You will be involved in a variety of periodic management accounting activities such as balance sheet reconciliations, variance analysis and reporting and business partnering with non-finance functions, as well as project related tasks. Finance graduates are enrolled on the government’s level 7 apprentice programme.

You will complete several rotations within Finance. Initially, you will be based in the Finance department in Milton Keynes and then move around the country working on exciting projects as well as management accounting activities for Network Rail.

You'll learn the main principles of Finance including management accounting, project accounting, and forecasting. You will be taught about business policy and regulations; the accounting processes; introduction to finance systems, finance reporting, accounts payable and receivable. You will also have the opportunity to see how funds are spent within the company and can help to produce business cases to justify business spend.

First 3 months (September-December)

You'll be based at Milton Keynes, completing several mini placements in specialist finance teams whilst also completing your certificate level of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualification.

Next 3 months (January-March)

You’ll be based in Manchester with the Accounting Services and the Shared Services teams where you learn about transactional accounting. You will then return to Milton Keynes and complete a 4 to 6 months corporate placement. You will continue to study the professional levels of CIMA whilst on placements in Manchester and Milton Keynes.

Remainder of the scheme

The remainder of your time on this scheme will be spent out in our route businesses within the regions. You can utilise the experience you have gained from projects, the understanding of transactional accounting and the knowledge of policies and procedures to add real value to the business areas you will 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.

You can also develop your knowledge via external secondments (e.g. a placement at HM Treasury or the Department for Transport) and will be encouraged to attend volunteer and development days with other graduates from your course.

Outside of the scheme, you’ll be attending college with your fellow graduates. You’ll work towards a chartered accountancy accreditation (i.e. CIMA) and are supported by your line manager and your apprenticeship talent coach in developing your Personal Development Plan (PDP).


Hear from a recent graduate:


Entry requirements

  • 2:2 in any degree subject
  • A-level Maths is desirable but not essential. We are looking for individuals who align with Network Rail’s values and behaviours, with a curiosity for numbers and a keenness to succeed.

What professional qualifications could you gain?

  • Graduates complete a level 7 apprenticeship programme and receive Associate status with the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
  • Designations:
  • Associate Chartered Management Accountant (ACMA)
  • Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA)

What opportunities are available at the end of the scheme?

The Finance Graduate scheme is very successful, with many graduates now holding 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. Previous graduates have gone on to become members of the Finance talent development scheme to further their own professional development.

Why you should choose this scheme

The scheme gives graduates a unique opportunity to understand different aspects of finance and how they interact with the wider business. The study support is generous compared to other finance schemes, with time and space given to ensure graduates can complete the qualification with minimal pressure and have ample opportunities to apply their learning in the workplace. 

Former graduates and senior finance leaders support and mentor graduates to empower them to improve and develop the scheme. Graduates are encouraged to work independently and are supported by senior leaders to excel in high pressured environments to prepare them for their next career move.

The finance scheme has a well-established feedback and support mechanism for the graduates via buddies, mentors and line managers to help them develop and progress their career. In Finance, we value our graduates and promote agile and flexible working.

Ready to make an epic career choice?

If the above sounds like you, then apply for our graduate scheme now.

You can also visit our application process and advice pages, where you’ll find help and tips for every stage of the application.