A step-by-step guide to applying for the Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship.
The application process includes both online and face-to-face exercises.
The steps of the application process are:
- complete the online application form and then complete the online tests (we recommend you complete the practice tests before you do the actual online exercises)
- attend a Fast Track Assessment Centre (a half day face-to-face event).
Before you begin each step, we’ll let you know the date you’ll need to complete it by.
Before you start
1. Application form
You’ll need to complete an online application form. This will take about 20 minutes to complete but you can save your progress as you go.
In this form, you will be asked to:
- provide your personal details
- select your preferred location(s) and scheme(s)
- tell us about any assistance you need to perform at your best through our assessment process.
You’ll be invited to complete an optional diversity questionnaire to help us understand the diversity representation we are attracting to our schemes. Your application will not be affected by the answers you give or whether or not you choose to complete this questionnaire.
2. Online tests
You’ll need to complete online tests to help determine your suitability for the Fast Track. The results of these tests will be used to decide if you can progress to the next step of the selection process.
You won’t be able to complete the online tests on a tablet or mobile phone. You’ll need to use a laptop or desktop computer to complete them.
There is information available if you need help with getting online.
If you’re applying under the Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS) you only need to complete the situational judgement and competency questionnaires.
Verbal and numerical reasoning tests (guide time: 6 minutes each exercise)
These are designed to accurately test your ability to work with numerical and verbal information. For these multiple choice tests:
- you have 6 minutes to complete each exercise
- the numerical exercise has 24 questions
- the verbal exercise has 36 questions
Before the exercise, you can try out practice questions, and we recommend this.
At the start of each exercise we’ll give you clear instructions and an example question. To do your best in these exercises you should make sure you have enough time to complete them and won’t be disturbed.
Situational judgement questionnaire (untimed, roughly takes: 20 to 30 minutes)
This questionnaire assesses how effectively you make judgements when presented with a range of different scenarios. Twenty scenarios are described and for each you need to select from 4 options which is the most and least effective for resolving the scenario. You’ll also need to rate how effective each response is.
We recommend you try the practice questions, prior to completing the test.
At the start of the exercise, we’ll give you clear instructions and an example question. The questionnaire is not timed, but typically takes 20 to 30 minutes to complete.
Competency questionnaire (untimed, roughly takes: 20 to 30 minutes)
This questionnaire assess your ability to demonstrate the civil service competencies most relevant to a Fast Track apprentice role.
You’ll be asked to read a series of statements and and rate how well it describes you on a 7-point scale from ‘strongly disagree’ to ‘strongly agree’.
Before you start the exercise, we’ll give you clear instructions. There are no practice questions for this exercise. The questionnaire is not timed, but typically takes 20 to 30 minutes to complete.
3. Fast Track assessment centre (FTAC)
If you’re successful at the online tests, you’ll be invited to a half-day assessment at an assessment centre. These will be held in various locations and on various dates.
You’ll be sent information about the assessment process and asked to bring along your exam certificates and documents to the assessment centre so they can be checked.
The assessment will give you an opportunity to show us you have the skills and personal qualities needed to join the Fast Track Apprenticeship.
At this half-day event you’ll undertake various tasks which will reflect important aspects of being a Fast Track apprentice including:
- a group task
- a written task
- a strengths-based interview
The tasks and interview will measure your skills, abilities and motivation against the Civil Service competencies, as well as your interest in the available Fast Track schemes.
For some Fast Track schemes that you’ve selected, you may also be asked to complete an additional assessment looking at specific scheme requirements.
If you’re invited to the assessment centre, you’ll be given more details beforehand about the assessments, how to prepare and what to expect when you’re at the centre. You can:
- find more information about the Fast Track assessment centre
- read about the relevant Level 2 core competencies
- find a list of Fast Track assessment centre locations
Applicants with disabilities
Help with getting online
If you don’t have a computer or device from which to do your application, you may be able to get access to the internet and get online at your local library.
Post Office branches can give you a list of places in your local area where you can get online for free.
If you need more help, call us on 03000 54 22 11.
We aim to let you know the outcome of your assessment by July 2018.
If you’ve been successful, we’ll be able to tell you about your role, scheme, department and location. You’ll also receive information about the next steps, including pre-appointment checks.
If you provide us with all of the required documentation and your pre-appointment checks are successful, you’ll start in your new role by October 2018.
Please be aware that the length of time pre-appointment checks take will vary between departments.
For more information please read our