1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
For the majority of my apprenticeship, I was a project support officer, working on projects within welfare reform. My role was very varied and every day presented a new challenge. I lead on project governance, assurance and communications activity and also contributed to project design work. I was given lots of responsibility and opportunities to develop within project management. I attended hundreds of meetings and interacted with many stakeholders. I feel like I made a significant contribution to welfare reform in the country through my work.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
I definitely developed as a person throughout the apprenticeship. I developed my level of maturity and confidence, through interacting with many senior stakeholders. I attended a variety of training courses, in addition to the main apprenticeship learning programme. These included masterclasses on risk management, governance, stakeholder engagement, communication tools and more. I worked towards my Association for Project Management Practitioner's Qualification and also towards a Level 4 portfolio in project management, as part of the apprenticeship.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I really enjoy working in the Civil Service. It brings me a lot of satisfaction to know that my day job actually has an impact on the running of this country. It's a great place to work, with flexible working arrangements and great colleagues. The apprenticeship side of things required a lot of patience, mostly due to a change in learning provider. At times, the only thing that kept me on the programme was because I enjoyed my day job so much, but I'm glad I stuck with the programme as it has enabled me to gain my promotion and progress in the Civil Service.
4. How valued do you feel by Civil Service?
I definitely felt valued by my team. They were so great to work with and I couldn't have asked for better line managers. Achievement is rewarded in the Civil Service and you definitely feel appreciated for the work you do.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
Again, my day job was well organised, mostly due to my manager giving me lots of responsibilities and opportunities. The apprenticeship/training/mentor side was more disorganised, but I often tried to overlook that.
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
I received little support from the training provider, but, then again, the provider did change half way through the Programme. I rarely knew who to go to for support and feedback on work was very inconsistent. When new mentors / assessors were brought in, this started to change a little.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
My employer was a huge support, in terms of my line manager(s), immediate team, wider team and support networks across the Department. I always knew who to go to for advice. Colleagues were always available to support me and were willing to take time to show me new ways of working and share their knowledge with me.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Excellently! The Civil Service is a really supportive employer. The salary and benefits are excellent, including a good pension that the Civil Service pays a large contribution into. There are health and leisure clubs to join too, offering discounts on major attractions.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There's lots you can get involved in outside of your day job. Volunteering is promoted within the Civil Service, so there's lots of opportunities there. You also have the chance to attend conferences and a variety of other events. There's excellent leisure/sports clubs you can join too, which also give you discounted access to many major attractions. Most Civil Service buildings are centrally located within cities, which is great for a nice lunch break or drinks after work with colleagues.
9. Would you recommend Civil Service to a friend?
There is a really good opportunity for career progression. It's a good place to work and you are able to make a contribution to the running of the country we live in. It's a really interesting and varied workplace and you get to meet lots of interesting people. Also, having flexible working hours, which brings great work life balance is the best!
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Civil Service?
Have a lot of patience! It's a long recruitment process, but it's worth it in the end. Use the Civil Service Competency Framework to prepare for the assessment day, it's an invaluable resource. Also, enjoy the assessment day, it's a really good learning opportunity, and take contact details of others who are at the assessment day with you. It's helpful to have people to share the recruitment journey with.
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