1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I was tasked with keeping their system updated, logging post (and assisting with opening it) and ensuring that files were actioned at various stages. Later I was able to take phone calls and using the system, update clients with regards to the stage their case had reached. The computer systems were fairly comprehensive and although files were dealt with manually, most of the letters were fairly standard and would be automatically generated by the system at each stage. Once I had good grasp of the cases I was able to amend the letters as appropriate.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
Using a new computer system; client care; dealing with complaints; knowledge of the legal system.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I thoroughly enjoyed the work and the people that I worked with. I feel it stood me in good stead for when I went into employment. I felt that I was given a lot of responsibility which gave me the confidence and motivation to progress. I had no face to face client contact which was a little disappointing but gained plenty of experience dealing with clients over the telephone. I also learnt how to deal with complaints in a calm and sympathetic manner, a skill I still use to this day!
4. How valued do you feel by Civil Service?
I felt that on occasion I was treated very differently to permanent employees. To some extent this was understandable but I often produced more work than the employees and received no recognition for the work. Employees were given hampers at Christmas and other treats, however I was overlooked.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
I feel the approach was very much to throw me in at the deep end! However, I enjoyed the responsibility and feel that I gained much more than I might have if I had been treated as unpaid admin!
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Plenty of support initially and there was always a supervisor on hand if I had any queries or needed support.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
The employer was supportive although it was generally supervisors who assisted and monitored me day to day.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
I was paid an hourly rate which was low and barely covered my travel costs. However, the experience I received was far more valuable.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There were opportunities to socialise and there were other training events.
9. Would you recommend Civil Service to a friend?
An altogether great experience which helped me gain in confidence before looking for full time work. It was also a talking point on my CV by future employees at interview and I felt they were impressed with the skills I had learned and the level of responsibility I was given.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Civil Service?
Don't expect to be treated in the same way as employees and be prepared to be thrown in at the deep end.
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