1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My role is within the Programme Management Office. The PMO supports project managers to help achieve successful delivery. The main areas are governance, progress reporting, planning assurance, benefits and risk management. I currently work within reporting. On a day to day basis this involves communicating with project managers both locally and remotely, to get updates on their projects and collating this into reports for use in meetings by management.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
As yet I have not developed any new skills however I will shortly begin working towards the APM-PMQ (Association of Project Management) followed by a Level 4 qualification in project management.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
so far the apprenticeship is yet to truly take off, most days have been quite routine as the learning and qualifications have been pushed back due to differences in start dates for the various apprentices. The department itself has been fantastic. I greatly enjoy my time with both my team and the department as a whole. The company is very inclusive and is always pushing the need to recognise the value of equality and diversity.
4. How valued do you feel by Department of Environmental Food and Rural Affairs?
I have not yet received any direct recognition however it is early days and I'm still learning how to make an impact. I have been included in most tasks and have been encouraged to fly solo when practical.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The programme was dead in the water for some time. Apprentice start dates are determined by individual departments and this meant the programme was held up. Although I have now had an induction the actually academic learning for the course has not started despite being employed for 3 months now. Sadly there does not seem much direction by the department either on what the job role will entail or how it will support the aims of the apprenticeship. This seems to be an overall failing by the programme and not department specific.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The training provider has an abundance of support right down to more personal things like diet, mental health, fitness and stress management. I have yet to need these services however so im not sure how they are in practice. There is also meant to be regular mentor / tutor contact but as the apprenticeship is yet to get into gear I'm not able to verify it.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My employer has been fantastic. I'm really glad I ended up in this department. I've past experience within the civil service throughout many departments and I can safely say this is the most supportive and inclusive department ive been in
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My salary is a sticking point as there is not a fixed apprentice salary but rather one determined by each department. This causes great variation. Some departments are also make a reduction to apprentice salary. That said, the pay is still reasonable.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
I don't particularly look for outside events. I am aware that there are a few things on the go from notice boards and email updates but ive not paid much attention.
9a. Would you recommend Department of Environmental Food and Rural Affairs to a friend? *
9b. Why? *
Despite the delays and other issues the apprenticeship is still an excellent starting point for someone looking to get into the civil service at a management grade. There are many different qualifications available to open a career in Project Management and as a public organisation they are required to have a robust equality and diversity policy.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Department of Environmental Food and Rural Affairs? *
Much of the process you cannot prepare for as its situational but the interview you can, make sure you really prep, why do you want to be in the civil service, what experience both of work and personal life do you bring that sets you apart, have examples of these experiences on standby!
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