1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
My current role is Strategic Projects Support in Customs EU Exit Policy and Design space. My role includes working across four different projects in the EU Exit space. My daily role includes setting up and comissioning project boards, running design workshops, working with stakeholders to gain information, admin duties. As EU Exit is so big I have lots of people to communicate with on a daily basis. As I work across four different projects the work can vary day to day on what is needed most.
However, I have only been in this role for a month now as my previous role was incredibly poor. I am a Project Delivery apprentice and was no where near a project. My daily tasks consisted of purely admin or sometimes no work at all. It was raised several times that the role wasn't suitable but nothing changed until my mentor had to step in and get it resolved.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I have learnt lots of new skills throughout the last 14 months. In terms of my apprenticeship I will gain the PMQ Qualification which I can take anywhere and is transferable so is really great. I have also gained knowledge in the project management field in my day job and learning days.
I have developed a lot of people skills as well such as talking to anyone and knowing how to communicate well. I have learnt how to handle certain types of people and how to be resilient myself.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy my programme when things are going well and not so much when they aren't. We have been through a lot of turbelence with my programme such as learning providers leaving, poor work placements and general not knowing and also a lot of incorrect information. This led to lots of unhappy and stressed apprentices and it took us taking action and writing a formal letter of complaint for things to change which isn't good enough. When things started to get better, I started to enjoy my programme a lot more.
4. How valued do you feel by Civil Service?
I feel very valued in the Civil Service within my day to day job. They give me meaningful work and always support me. However, I don't feel valued as an apprentice due to the everything that has happened. I thought we would be valued therefore everything would be done to make sure it ran smoothly however this didn't happen.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
My programme was horrifically unorganised. It took a few months to get onboarding into our programme and at first it seemed great and the teaching was good until we realised we weren't being taught what we needed, rather what the teacher wanted to talk about. We had an exam in May 2018 and only got given revision guides in January 2018. They were supposed to be given out in August 2017. The learning provider also left us with 4 weeks notice leaving us with little to no support and no learning. The organisation was awful and took months to get anything resolved.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
With our old training provider we had pastoral coaches which worked great at first until they got put on leave for the entire summer leaving all the apprentices with no pastoral support. There was also one pastoral care for 70 apprentices which isn't realistic at all. We were also confused about our portfolio which we had to submit however we got told 4 different things of how to complete and the mark scheme changed atleast twice meaning all of our marked work then became ungraded. We all felt very unsupported and unhappy at this time. With our new training provider things have picked up however they still aren't sorted as we don't have a pastoral or skils coach.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
I have always had so much support from my employer. Everyone is always very supportive and always wants to help. If I need to gain certain types of work, they are always willing to help facilitate this where they can. Whenever I need time off to study it hasn't been a problem and has been encouraged. I also got given a mentor who has been amazing. She provides so much support and always wants to help me. She's got me out of a few bad situations that I needed help with.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
My salary for my age is absolutely amazing. I have been able to purchase a house at the age of 19 and can live comfortable in my means. I live in Nottingham so travel isn't too costly but I can still comfortable afford it. The company pay for all expenses so even when I travel, it all gets reimbursed leaving me not out of pocket. We get paid our grade pay rather than as apprentices.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are lots of opportunites outside of work however I choose not to participate in these. We have lots of clubs/sports activities that take place on site that you can get involved with.
9. Would you recommend Civil Service to a friend?
I would recommend the Civil Service as it's a secure job for life and the pay is amazing. The apprenticeship when it is run well is actually really beneficial and will definatelty set me up for my future. We have so many departments that it's very easy to move around and find something you really enjoy.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Civil Service?
I would advise that in assessment centre's to just be yourself as they are looking more at personality rather than skills. Also on online tests to give your proper answer, not to answer how you think the mark scheme wants you to answer.
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