Life on the Fast Track: Toby Staton-Bevan
Fast Track apprentice Toby Staton-Bevan talks about his experiences as a Project Support Officer on the scheme.
I currently work as a Project Support Officer in the Chief Digital and Information Office in HMRC.
I’ve found the Project Support role is a great first step into project management. It’s allowed me to work in close proximity to various projects, but have just enough distance from actual management to learn the ins and outs of managing a successful project.
Day to day I’ll be attending meetings, interpreting outcomes and recording output including actions, risks, planning activities and making decisions. I’ll then use all that information to create an end-to-end plan for the project.
I also create important document sets that are needed for the project to progress through the various governance points and approval stages.
One of the biggest advantages of being an apprentice is that you’re actively encouraged and given room to develop. I’ll often cover the Project Manager tasks on the projects. I’ve found this has really given me confidence, and it also gives me the experience I need to progress in my career.
You should always remember that you’ll only get out of an apprenticeship what you put in.
Before I started this apprenticeship, I studied at a couple of sixth form colleges. After a year of studying A levels, I realised that I wanted to take my own path in life and decided to go down the vocational education route.
I enrolled in a Music Performance BTEC, and fully enjoyed it. You can demonstrate your ability through practical work, which is a much fairer and more accurate way of seeing your potential, and can be overlooked in the education system today.
When my course ended, I wanted to carry on fulfilling my potential and demonstrating what I could do. I could have done a higher level vocational course, but I felt that doing ‘real’ work would provide me with better experiences and would be a much faster progression route. I started to look at apprenticeships.
I applied for the Fast Track because it seemed like an important role in government – the starting salary suggested there would be real responsibility, and there was the opportunity to work towards a recognised qualification.
I haven’t yet decided what I plan to do after the apprenticeship but I know that I want to keep pushing myself, and I want to keep progressing.
I’m eligible for the Fast Stream, which is an excellent development scheme. However, when you follow a set path, like university or the Fast Stream, sometimes it can limit you – you can usually only go as far as the scheme allows. I know I want to take advantage of the opportunities that turn up. I may receive good opportunities, or I may find some dead ends. Either way, I can make the most of the situation; and it makes the risk worth taking.
Published: 11 January 2016