Welcome tothe real NHS

May 2023

We learn how one Queen Mary University of London graduate benefitted from taking on the challenge of a financial placement with an NHS Trust. You too could get an internship…

Queen Mary University of London’s School of Business and Management has joined forces with the Skills Development Network to offer students the chance to get ‘real life’ experience through a year-long work placement with the biggest employer in Europe.

The Skills Development Network places second year students on accelerated degrees from five London universities with NHS Trusts, with many of the recruits returning to the NHS once they have finished their degree. Here is one graduate’s story.

‘Rewarding and insightful’

Kamerun Miah, BSc Accounting and Management, worked as a Financial Management Placement Intern at the Royal Marsden NHS Trust. He said…

“I found my placement experience to be incredibly rewarding and insightful. I have learned a great deal about the healthcare sector and how financial management plays a crucial role in ensuring that the NHS can deliver high-quality patient care.

“One of the most valuable lessons has been the importance of effective communication and collaboration. The NHS is a complex organisation with many different departments and stakeholders. I have had to work effectively with others to achieve common goals. I have also learned about the financial challenges facing the NHS and how finance professionals can help to address these issues through careful budgeting, forecasting, and financial analysis.

“Another lesson has been the importance of reviewing VAT in order to ensure compliance with HMRC regulations. This involves understanding the different VAT rates that apply to various goods and services, as well as ensuring that VAT is charged correctly and accounted for accurately. This can be particularly challenging in the healthcare sector, where there are a range of exempt and zero-rated items that must be carefully monitored to avoid errors.

“I have also gained valuable experience in managing different accounts, including both revenue and capital accounts. This has involved working with finance professionals from different departments and using accounting software to track transactions and reconcile accounts. I have learned about the importance of accurate record-keeping and financial reporting, as well as the need to work collaboratively with colleagues to ensure that budgets are managed effectively.

“I would highly recommend this placement to any accounting and management students who are looking to gain practical experience and make a positive contribution to an organisation that is dedicated to improving patient care. To make your application stand out, make sure that you have a strong academic record, particularly in finance, accounting, and business-related subjects.

Highlight any relevant work experience or extracurricular activities that demonstrate your interest in finance and accounting.

“Finally, be sure to research the NHS and the specific department you are applying to, and tailor your application accordingly to show that you have a good understanding of the organisation and its goals.

“Overall, my finance placement with the NHS has been an excellent opportunity to gain hands-on experience in financial management and learn about the unique challenges facing the healthcare sector. I have developed a range of valuable skills, including attention to detail, analytical thinking, and the ability to work effectively as part of a team.”

Invaluable experience

“It was a privilege to introduce this placement to our students,” said Dr Ishani Chandrasekara, Reader in Accounting and Programme Director BSc Accountancy Flying Start with PwC. “This public sector placement scheme provided several of our high achievers with invaluable experience, which will increase their employability upon graduation. In recent years, it’s become more important than ever to complete a placement while studying.

Otherwise, students graduate with little to no work experience relevant to their degree. This year-long placement will propel our students ahead in a highly competitive labour market.
Our students gained soft skills which will support their future success in the workplace, professional qualifications and technical skills required by the accountancy industry.

“It was inspirational to see students take the initiative to complete this extra year and demonstrate strategic thinking about their futures. This is the kind of commitment that employers want to see from top Russell Group graduates. The placement also allowed students to trial a career in accounting and finance before joining a graduate scheme.

“Placement students were able to grow their professional networks and diversify their social capital through connections made during this year. This reflects the university’s commitment to democratising access to higher education and fast-tracking pathways to professional careers like accounting. Students worked with accountants from junior to senior levels. This experience made our students more well-rounded people.

“I absolutely believe it is worth investing time in doing a year-long paid placement when studying for a degree in accountancy. If you are willing to put the hard work in, it will help you achieve a great career in accounting.”