1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am a Project Support Officer on the Channels Strategy Team, for the Legal Aid Agency. The Channels Strategy team work towards a more digital way of working whilst improving the customer experience. My role involves taking minutes and actions from meetings, monitoring the risks and issues register, supporting the Project Officer throughout projects as well as taking on my own smaller projects within the team. It is important to interact with internal and external stakeholders in order to provide the best customer experience for the public.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt new professional skills, particularly what is expected in the workplace. From my job role, I have developed time management skills and how to ensure quality is produced - improving my accuracy.
By the end of my apprenticeship, I will have gained a Level 4 Business Administration qualification, and I am currently learning about the theory behind business and applying this to my role, which I have found very interesting. Internally, I have attended workshops about Continuous Improvement, and why this is important in the Civil Service.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy my programme very much. I look forward to going to work, as well as attending my classroom sessions. My workplace is friendly, and there are plenty opportunities to get involved in different activities. My team were very accommodating when I first arrived, and the support from my manager has ensured that I get full enjoyment out of my apprenticeship.
4. How valued do you feel by Civil Service?
I think I am a valued member of the Civil Service. Following feedback from senior management, they are very grateful of apprentices and understand the significance of having an apprentice in their workplace. As there are now only two members of the team, myself and my manager, I know how appreciative my manager is to have the support to carry out the necessary work.
My manager has also allowed me to take on smaller projects from the workload, to ensure I am fully involved rather than solely supporting the projects.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Although the recruitment and induction to the programme took a little time to get going, now the Cohort are in their roles and completing their learning, the programme is very structured. I also feel that the feedback provided from apprentices in this Cohort can help the Civil Service to gain a better understanding for the next Cohort. Capita, the learning providers, have become much more organised and I have clear understanding of the structure.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
My tutor is very helpful, and will always be on hand if I have a query. You are provided with contact details, including mobile numbers, which you can use at any time to contact your tutor/assessor. I think the time between the sessions is the right timing, as it allows you to maintain a good relationship with your tutor. There is also plenty support available during assignments, including conference calls following the classroom session. My tutor/assessor are very friendly, and will always help no matter how big the problem.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My manager has provided me with the most support, especially towards personal development and understanding what I want to achieve in my Civil Service career, as well as supporting me through personal problems. As my manager has a lot of experience, she can always give me advice whether it be work or personal problems. I think I am very well supported in my workplace, not only by my manager, but from others around my office.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My salary is above and beyond my living/travel/daily costs, which allows me to save in order to buy a house. As I am based in the North East, I do not spend a fortune on travel costs, as well as my workplace being based near my home. The salary also allows me to feel like another member of the Civil Service, as the pay bands are not different from normal employees - I think this is very important when the same work is being carried out day to day.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are many opportunities, particularly in the Legal Aid Agency, some of these include: Weight Management classes, gym deals, theatre deals for leisure, as well as volunteering opportunities from Civil Service Local. Wider teams I have attended many marketing events for the Apprenticeship scheme, which have allowed me to travel across the country.
9a. Would you recommend Civil Service to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
This apprenticeship opportunity is a fantastic path into the Civil Service, as there is a secured job at the end of it. It also allows you to apply for the Fast Stream, a graduate programme, without the need for a degree. It offers a job for life with fantastic benefits and opportunities for all, especially those from a diverse background. You are made to feel like a real, valued employee in the Civil Service, whilst gaining a valuable and very useful qualification.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Civil Service? *
Prepare for the interview with relation to the Civil Service Competency Framework with plenty of examples, as this is a key part of the day. Do not feel disheartened if something goes wrong, as the interviewers and assessors are unbiased and will not hold this against you. If the application process, and then the onboarding process takes a long time, do not be disheartened. Stick with the apprenticeship as this is such a fantastic opportunity it is worth it.
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