The number of government apprenticeships available to talented young people across the UK is set to double as applications for 200 places in the Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship scheme open next week.
Apprenticeships offer 18 to 21-year-olds the opportunity to work at the heart of government in roles with real responsibility, such as developing business policy in Sheffield, helping people into work in Birmingham or advising ministers in Whitehall.
The scheme was introduced last year, when 100 18 to 21-year-olds were placed in departments to learn on the job. This year, the scheme is looking to offer 200 permanent Executive Officer posts to school leavers in September 2014. The aim is to increase the places available to 500, so that the programme matches the graduate Fast Stream.
The apprentices will benefit from a structured training programme for 2 years. They will be expected to develop a range of skills and at the end of the scheme will have the opportunity to apply for other civil service career opportunities. The scheme will be managed alongside the civil service’s other corporate talent programmes.
Apprenticeships are part of the government’s drive to widen the pool of talent the civil service draws on and create a civil service fit for the 21st century. The Civil Service Reform Plan published in June 2012 is committed to developing the capability of all staff and encouraging the most able. The Fast Track Apprenticeship scheme is already strengthening the civil service with talented young people who have chosen not to go to university.
Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:
As part of our long-term plan to get Britain on the rise, we are working to ensure that we have the very best people working in the civil service. That’s why we have introduced a new Fast Track Apprenticeship scheme for talented school leavers, which we have now doubled to offer 200 places in seven spots across the country. The apprenticeship scheme will sit alongside our popular graduate scheme, ensuring we draw the widest pool of talent into the civil service to help Britain win the global race.
Head of the Civil Service Sir Bob Kerslake said:
We are looking for more young people who have what it takes to help create the modern, efficient, responsive Civil Service the UK deserves. The Fast Track Apprenticeship scheme is attracting a new generation of school leavers who are choosing not to take the higher education route to employment but have the talent and commitment to succeed in one of the diverse careers offered by the civil service. You have until 19 February to apply for this exciting opportunity.
Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable said:
One of my main ambitions in government has been to see attending university and vocational training recognised on an equal footing. That’s why, even through tough times, I have maintained funding for apprenticeships – which has now reached over £1.5 billion for this year. The private sector has embraced apprenticeships and so it’s only right that government should too. My own department is host to some of the new civil service apprentices and I have been impressed by their calibre. So I welcome the fact we are now doubling the numbers for the new intake.
This will give talented young people the chance to gain valuable workplace experience to help build their careers and create a high-skilled economy.
Notes to editors
Recruitment to the Fast Track Apprenticeship programme begins on 28 January 2014 and runs until 19 February, with the new cohort starting work in September 2014.
This year, 200 places are on offer to 18 to 21-year-olds with five A*-C grades at GCSE (including English and maths). The aim is to increase the intake to 500 places a year over the medium term. This will make the scheme comparable in size to the graduate Fast Stream.
Anyone wishing to apply should go to www.gov.uk/civil-service-apprenticeships. Before 28 January, there is a link where would-be applicants can register an interest in applying and receive an alert when applications go live. This link will go to the full application site on 28 January.
Read the thoughts of current apprentices:
Departments and professions within the civil service will continue to run their own apprenticeship schemes alongside the new cross-government scheme.
The Civil Service Reform Plan can be found at www.civilservice.gov.uk/reform.