Shipleys LLP
Chartered accountants and professional business advisers

Graduate trainees

For students with a strong interest in organisations and people, a career as a professionally qualified accountant can be both stimulating and rewarding.

Our graduate training programme

We take on between four and eight graduate trainees each year - both newly qualified graduates and those who have already started work but have decided on a career change and now want to join the profession - to study for the Chartered, Certified or AAT qualifications. In addition to the annual August intake we often also take on students in January. You should apply as soon as possible – even if you are contemplating a gap year.

You should have, or be anticipating, a minimum of a second class honours degree (usually a 2.1), but this need not be in accountancy or any other business related subject. The large majority of students entering the profession don’t have ‘relevant’ degrees. English and maths GCSE at grade B or above and at least 300 UCAS points are also normally required.

Students enter employment under three or four year training contracts at our offices in London or Godalming, during which they receive a wide range of practical experience while studying for their professional examinations. Practical training to equip you for your work with us is provided by SWAT UK Ltd and more technical training focusing on the exams is provided by professional tutors from Kaplan. Both are leading training organisations in the profession, and this is supplemented by in-house workshops and training sessions. Our students are given paid study leave, and we also cover the costs of all courses and examinations for the first attempts.

We are an Authorised Training Employer for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. The professional qualification you will achieve at the successful conclusion of your training will be the same whichever firm you join, so why should you train with Shipleys?

The information on our Why Join Our Team? page applies equally to our students as to other staff.

Why train with us?

The Association of Practicing Accountants (APA), of which Shipleys is a member, provides a lot of information about becoming a chartered accountant and the advantages of training with a medium sized firm like us. They produce a booklet ‘Becoming a chartered accountant - training with a medium sized firm’ which you can download.

We offer
We invest a lot into our students and in return expect them to contribute and do well.

  • A competitive salary and training package
  • An excellent track record of exam results. Over the last three years our candidates have passed 96% of the exams sat at the professional stage and 92% at the advanced stage
  • A friendly and informal working environment, with regular contact with senior staff and partners
  • A keen personal interest in how you are getting on. This includes mentoring from those who’ve been there and done it
  • Brilliant work experience - your initial experience in audit, accountancy and taxation will be gained in a wide variety of real client situations, without the need for simulated work experience courses. There is more information about our clients, the sectors in which we operate and what we do for them elsewhere on this site
  • Opportunities to develop your career into different technical specialisations or industry sectors, some perceived as more glamorous than others!

We expect

We are currently looking for graduate trainees to join our team and to study for the Chartered, Certified or AAT qualifications.

Of course some of these are skills which can be improved over time, but the right pre-requisite characteristics must be present. Our graduate trainees have:

  • self motivation and a willingness to take responsibility
  • self-confidence and the ability to use their own initiative
  • an adaptable and sociable personality with the knack of communicating well with people at all levels to earn credibility with colleagues and clients (both verbally and in writing)
  • the ability to get along and work with others as part of a team
  • high ethical standards and are honest
  • leadership and management potential
  • a professional manner and appearance
  • good IT skills.


Application process

Competition for places is fierce with a large number of applicants. We use an outside organisation, Mercia (incorporating SWAT), to deal with the initial stages of student applications. They also handle student trainee applications for several other firms, and there’s more information about the early stages of the application process on their Graduate Recruitment website.

If you would like to apply to join us you should complete the online forms on the Mercia/SWAT website

Our successful applicants normally go through the following process:

  • online application lodged via the Mercia/SWAT website
  • attendance at an assessment day at SWAT in London (maths and english tests and an interview)
  • assessment morning at our office. We hold two or three each year. Candidates participate in a group exercise on a business scenario and are shown around and introduced to current students and other staff
  • Interview (held on the afternoon of the day of the assessment morning) with our student counsellor and HR manager.
  • Candidates who successfully proceed through all these stages are offered training contracts

Get newsletter updates

Keep up with the latest information from Shipleys by signing up for our updates, including our magazine Shipshape