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EO Finance Apprentice at the Department of Education in Sheffield

Job Description

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The Department for Education is responsible for providing world-class education and care that allows every child and young person to reach his or her potential, regardless of background. This role is based in the Education & Skills Funding Agency, an executive agency of the Department, which is responsible for providing £54 billion each year to schools and colleges to educate children and young people.

We have a challenging and high profile role on a major Government programme which is addressing the condition need of those school buildings in the worst condition across the county.

The £4.4Bn Priority School Building Programme (PSBP) is rebuilding and/or refurbishing buildings at 537 schools across the country: 491 using capital funding; and 46 using private finance funding.

This is a fast-paced, challenging, innovative and exciting programme and provides excellent opportunities for personal and professional development.

We ask a lot of our people. In return, we give them the training and development the job demands and the respect and rewards that it deserves. Join us and you’ll find this is a very supportive and inclusive place to work. We look out for each other and make sure everyone has flexibility and freedom to achieve the right work-life balance.

The team has achieved considerable success:

  • we are targeting investment more effectively than ever before, basing investment decisions on evidence of the needs of the school estate. In doing so, we are maximising the impact of every pound of taxpayer’s money;
  • we are delivering PSBP schools for up to a third less than the previous school building programme, Building Schools for the Future (BSF). We are also delivering faster – taking only one year to start construction under PSBP, versus 3 years under BSF;
  • under the first phase of the programme, 142 schools are open in new and/or refurbished buildings and building contracts have been signed for over 230 schools; and
  • under the second phase, we have confirmed the programme for the delivery of the building projects at the 277 schools and work has started at a number of schools to develop feasibility studies.

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The Apprenticeship

You will undertake a fully funded Level 4 Apprenticeship Professional Accounting Technician. Over the 24 months of the apprenticeship-training programme, you will develop skills and knowledge that will support you in a wide range of duties. You will learn finance skills including how budgeting can improve organisational performance; statistical techniques to analyse business information; reporting frameworks and ethical principles that underpin financial reporting; how to evaluate internal control systems.

What will I learn? Some of the modules you will cover are

  • Management Accounting: Budgeting
  • Management Accounting: Decision and Control
  • Financial Statements of Limited Companies
  • Accounting Systems and Controls

Over the duration of your apprenticeship, you will spend a minimum of 20% of your time at work completing off-the-job learning.

When you start the apprenticeship, you will be allocated a talent coach to help you make the most of the training programme.

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Your role

Within the team, you will undertake a range of duties with the key areas outlined below.

You will work within the PSBP Finance Team which supports the programme by providing timely and accurate financial reports and professional advice on all matters relating to the financial governance of the programme.

You will be responsible for: –

  • Providing basic analysis utilising Microsoft Excel
  • Liaising with Project Directors and Managers to ensure Purchase Orders are produced in a timely manner.
  • Liaising with suppliers in relation to unpaid invoices
  • Ensure all Sales Invoices in relation to 3rd party contributions are processed promptly.
  • Supporting wider divisional and departmental priorities
  • General administration duties as required

Support the development and embedment of the team’s finance areas by providing insightful information that will enable the Programme Senior Leadership Team to make effective investment decisions.

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About You

  • You are keen to learn and develop;
  • You are patient, level-headed and stay calm under pressure. You are not fazed by needing to juggle different and competing priorities;
  • You pay attention to the details. You stay focused and support the achievement of team and organisational objectives;
  • You enjoy working with other people to deliver results. You can work with different personalities and know how to get the best of out of them;
  • You can think on your feet and take the initiative. You can make decisions when needed and are accountable for your actions and your performance;
  • You communicate effectively both verbally and in writing;
  • You are confident with Excel and can deliver to a “right first-time” standard with a commitment to continuous improvement.
  • You are confident with numbers and have Maths GCSE or equivalent

How to apply

The recruitment process will include online application followed by an online numerical test. If you pass the test and your application form scores the required mark you will be invited to an interview. At the interview, you will be asked to provide a presentation based on a case study you will be given beforehand.

You can access online tools to help you prepare for your test through a google search.

When you apply, you will be asked to provide some specific information, which you will type on a screen. As all application forms are anonymised, we ask that you do not include any personal details. You will be asked for information to support your application, which in this case will include a personal statement.

Personal Statement (using the text box provided online)

You will also be asked to complete a personal statement of no more than 1200 words setting out how you consider your personal skills, qualities and experience, match the requirements as detailed in the job description. You will also need to address the below questions in line with the core competencies for this role (provided below) which are;

  1. Why have you applied for this Apprenticeship with the Department for Education?
  1. What skills have you learned from school/college/work/social life that you feel are important in the workplace? (Please provide examples of the following: how you have worked with others; when you have delivered a project or piece of work to a high quality; how you have delivered a project or piece of work with tight deadlines)
  1. What you consider when you make a decision and how you weighed up the options to make that choice.

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Job Competencies

Making Effective Decisions:

  • Examine complex information and obtain further information to make accurate decisions
  • Speak with the relevant people in order to obtain the most accurate information and get advice when unsure of how to proceed

Collaborating and Partnering:

  • Actively encourage team working, changing ways of working to facilitate collaboration for the benefit of the team’s work
  • Readily identify opportunities to share knowledge, information and learning and make progress by working with colleagues

Managing a Quality Service:

  • Work with team to set priorities, create clear plans and manage all work to meet the needs of the customer and the business
  • Ensure delivery of professional excellence and expertise

Delivering at Pace:

  • Be interested and positive about what they and the team are trying to achieve
  • Check own and team performance against outcomes, make improvement suggestions or take corrective action when problems are identified

Do not worry if these look a bit complicated – they are just the standard competencies all Civil Servants need to be able to show. To help you understand what we are looking for we have created our Apprenticeship candidate pack that outlines how to write answers to our questions and goes into more detail about the application process and a little more about the application and assessment process.

For more guidance on completing competency statements visit

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Role location:

2, St Pauls Place, 125 Norfolk St, Sheffield S1 2JF

Job Categories: Sheffield. Job Types: Accounting Technician. Salaries: £23195-£24921. PA

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