Case study

Civil Service apprentice: Conor O'Connor

Conor O'Connor, who has a policy support role in the Department for Education, discusses his experience as a Civil Service apprentice..

Civil Service Apprentice Conor O'Connor outside the Department for Education

Civil Service Apprentice Conor O'Connor outside the Department for Education

Conor O’Connor from South East London, aged 18, has a policy support role for the International Education Division in the Department for Education (DfE).

The International Education Division work on all aspects of international education, from dealing with the EU and our schools in EU countries to administering international benchmarking surveys such as PISA and TIMSS.

Conor says:

I didn’t want to go to university; there wasn’t anything that appealed to me as a future career. I wanted a career that I enjoyed, challenged me and helped me build skills I could use anywhere. After weeks of internet searching for opportunities I came across the Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship Scheme. Ever since my original application, I’ve never looked back.

I work in the International Education Division of the Department for Education and I cover International Evidence and Partnerships.

Mainly I help administer the international education surveys such as PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS, write briefs for our ministers on international educational matters, facilitate visits for foreign delegations/ministers and lead on Overseas Territories educational needs for the department. Whilst it can be very demanding with short deadlines, multi-tasking and huge learning curves, I love every second of it.

I find every aspect of my work so rewarding, enjoyable and challenging. I am gaining experience and skills I could never have imagined I would possess, and it’s all down to this scheme.

Are you thinking of joining the scheme? Do it! I’ve never regretted my decision to not go to university like most of my friends. It’s definitely a great alternative; you gain so much more experience, contacts and skills then you could ever pick up in a lecture theatre. From day 1 you are given the chance to push yourself, challenge, lead and learn. I applied not knowing what to expect, and I am so glad I did.

Benefits Conor found:

  • experiences and skills you could never hope to gain in a lecture theatre
  • earn while you learn
  • work is really rewarding and helps make a difference
  • a guaranteed job at the end of it, if you complete it
  • huge career prospects ahead of you upon completion

For more information and to register your interest in applying to become an apprentice visit the Civil Service Apprenticeship Schemes page.

Published 13 January 2014