1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
Working at the DWP I work with ESA (Employment and support allowance) in the (WCA) work capability assessment section. I have been involved in day to day admin duties, working on the telephony system (calling back customers and resolving queries)and decision making (casework).
Pros: Flexible working hours, you can build up your hours to book a day off or a half day. Great colleagues Having an opportunity to get involved with different tasks Being able to work independently without the manager being on your back. Line managers are supportive Very good starting salary for a 16-21 year old. Dress code isn't strict (depending on where you are based) Good alternative to UNI as you do study for a level 4 qualification and will have a lot to put on to your CV.
Cons: Job satisfaction is quite low, I am hoping to change my role or switch department soon. There are a lot of changes and not always for the better. High targets which have been increased, has caused a negative atmosphere, not a lot of happy workers. Lack of communication Management don't seem aware of what goes on on the front line, decisions made have made things more difficult so far.
If job satisfaction was better and the atmosphere was generally more positive I would give a much higher rating but at the moment this isn't the case.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
You will naturally develop a lot of skills on the job for example: Communication skills Interpersonal skills Decision Making Organisational and time management skills Analysing
You also gain significant experience and competencies.
Whilst there are a number of skills you can gain in Business Admin Framework (Mainly customer service roles in DWP) specialist skills such as project management, commercial, finance and IT you don't really get the chance the develop. Not yet anywway.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy changing roles and doing different things around the department as it does help you learn so much more about the benefits system. On the other hand you do see there are issues with the system which does impact customers. Overall for me I do enjoy working with my colleagues and doing different roles but because of the current issues with the system and the negative nature of my main job role satisfaction for me is quite low.
4. How valued do you feel by Civil Service?
I do feel valued by line managers and colleagues. You are given a permanent job role and the whole point of this apprenticeship is to bring in the next generation of civil servants.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
There was a lot of delays at the beginning to get us started but since then can't really complain about it. Could be better or worse.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
You do receive a sufficient amount. For the Business Admin Framework, you a HNC and NVQ qualification which includes a monthly classroom session with other apprentices and your tutor meeting you once a month at your work place.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I get a good amount of support, my line managers do want me to develop as much as possible and would be happy for me to take up any develop opportunities. Colleagues are always happy to help too.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Pretty good, I do think it must be one of the highest paid apprenticeships around. If you are in London you do get a bit extra due to living and transport costs.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
Not a lot that I have come across yet. You do get a monthly newsletter from the fast track team that tell you what opportunities are available such as visiting schools or attending apprenticeship fairs and represent civil service.
9. Would you recommend Civil Service to a friend?
Flexible working hours A lot of departments you can work in. You do have a proper job. A lot of skills to gain insight into the work of goverment on a daily basis. If you build up the competencies then you can go for a promotion or move to another department.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Civil Service?
Consider everything I have written above. It is definitely a good alternative to uni and an opportunity to kickstart your career and give you a meaningful job. You are allocated to a department but you don't find out which one until some procedures are done. I didn't get a say in which department I would end up.
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