1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am an apprentice programme manager within a Civil Service Ministerial Department. My role is varied on a daily basis and involves tasks such as; financial management and budgeting, ensuring my programmes are compliant with organisational rules and regulations, arranging meetings to monitor partner performance and progress, and liaising across the organisation with procurement and other specialist teams.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I’ve development many skills through on the job training and also through the official learning side of the apprenticeship. These have included effective personal performance and time management, written and verbal communication skills, and improving my skills on internal systems and also developing my knowledge of Microsoft excel functions, which have assisted me in my role.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I enjoy the programme very much. I have been placed in a supportive and encouraging team who are very knowledgeable and passionate about their work. I expected to have a steep learning curve on joining the apprenticeship and I haven't been disappointed, but the department culture suits me. You are expected to work hard but it does not go unrecognised by senior managers.
4. How valued do you feel by Civil Service?
I feel very valued by my department manager and have been given opportunities to be involved in interesting and high profile pieces of work, for example I worked on a project this year which involved working closely alongside a senior director in the organisation. I've also received an in year recognition award from my team in thanks for my contribution over the year, and been invited to attend an event with my department manager for future leaders, from across the civil service.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
The structure of the programme could be improved. The induction to my unit was very good but I felt there could have been a better induction to the whole department. The learning side of the apprenticeship also took a while to get up and running due to a change in learning provider, and this had meant time pressures to get the learning completed in a shorter period of time.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
The tutor is very helpful and supportive. They arranged regular visits to the work place and assist in how to present and collect evidence from my role in order for me to meet the performance criteria necessary. They were very accessible and responded to any emails quickly and often arranged to follow up on phone to ensure everything was clear.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My employer is committed to providing me with 20% learning time in order for me to complete assignments and collect evidence from my role to assist so that I can achieve my apprenticeship. I have been assigned a mentor and had a buddy for my first few months in role. I also have a supportive and encouraging line manager who works with me to address any issues I have having either within my role or in the apprenticeship.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
The salary is excellent for an apprentice role. I receive the same salary as any non apprentice working at my grade within my department would be entitled to. The package includes a generous annual leave entitlement, pension, flexible working and also the ability to work from home occasionally if required.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There is an onsite gym that you are able to become a member of. There is also five aside football teams and a lunch time walking club you are able to become part of. All staff members are entitled to 5 days volunteering and there are close links with hospice charities in the local communities.
9. Would you recommend Civil Service to a friend?
There are great oppertunities in a variety of roles to suit many diffent skill sets.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Civil Service?
Be prepared and do your research. There are blogs from existing apprentices online. Read them and see if there is something you are interested in. Really think about why you are motivated to apply and what you want to gain from an apprenticeship with the Civil Service. For the application process research the Civil Service competencies which can be found online and think of examples from your experience how you can demonstrate these. Good luck!
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