What are the entry-level options for trainee company secretaries?



You have a Law/Finance/Business degree and you’ve decided you want to embark on a career as a Company Secretary - excellent decision! This broad role is a key player within any organisation and will give you exposure to a number of corporate functions that is hard to find with other roles: Legal, finance, administration, pensions, HR, you name it!


The decision is made, you may already be ICSA qualified or you are looking into the qualification but either way you’re ready and raring to go! But where do you start your search for your first role and just what are your options? 


‘In-house’ trainee positions


Some large companies (listed and non-listed) have trainee Company Secretarial openings when they are looking for a hard-working and motivated graduate to join their secretariat and support the team with company secretarial issues. Some companies will give these roles explicit ‘trainee’ titles, in other organisations the title Company Secretarial Assistant is used (0-5 years of experience).


A trainee position such as this will give you great exposure to ‘bread and butter’ cosec work and excellent transferable skills to almost any sector. A diligent approach within a large plc can often lead to promotion from Trainee to Cosec Assistant within just 1 or 2 years.


Professional Services


Entry level roles can also be found within professional services used by large organisations who outsource their CoSec work. Roles within these types of organisations are known for giving company secretaries an excellent foundation of the technical skills needed to perform the day-to-day requirements. Roles within professional services are often popular amongst trainees as they give you exposure to clients from all different sectors. Perform well and you may be given the opportunity to be seconded to a client and see first-hand how different businesses run their secretariat. This may help you firm up your thoughts on the type of company you’d like to work for if you do decide to move ‘in-house’. 



Professional Firms


Professional firms such as law firms and accountancy firms are also called upon if a company has limited or no CoSec resources. Roles within a professional firm environment also provide fantastic solid training in compliance and opportunities to work with varied clients, you’ll find exciting projects land on the door-steps of professional firms such as high-profile IPOs or Annual Report and Accounts work. A more structured path of career progression and the possibility of managerial responsibilities also make roles within professional firms and professional services attractive.



Not-for-profit/Governance Roles


As you’ll know, Company Secretarial skills can be applied to any sector. Not everybody is looking to break into the corporate world or climb the FTSE ladder. If you’d like to work in the public sector, for a charity or not-for-profit organisation then check out governance roles which support the Board and Committee meetings.





Some companies offer internships to ICSA students although these are uncommon and can be competitive. If you do land one of these, it will certainly stand you in good stead for future applications to permanent roles.


The Core Partnership handles recruitment for trainee company secretaries in all sectors and with organisations of all sizes. If you are interested in hearing about the opportunities we have on, please send a copy of your CV to team@core-partnership.co.uk.



11 January 2016



written by Eleanor Channer-Cleere
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