1. Please give an overview of your role and what this involves on a day-to-day basis:
I am supporting the HR function within Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in the Enforcement and Compliance department. My usual day-to-day tasks consist of aiding and supporting a team of business partners in organising briefings and draft papers for large scale meetings. I am also going to be creating and conducting workshops to further develop the knowledge of the wider business (E&C) on the topic of capabilities and learning/development. I recently was involved in a large scale project which required mysel and a team of 12 others to plan and perform an event to an audience of over 300 people (OneHR Community). Being in London I regularly converse with Senior Civil Servants and directors of the organisation and working in a Private Office means I regually recieve correspondence from the very top of the civil service, however I am also involved with the implementation of HR policies in to the business which means I see a lot more than just the "back-room" jobs.
2. Have you learnt any new skills or developed existing skills?
My drafting and literacy skills have improved drastically since working here, I also believe that my vocabulary has broadened. I am currently working towards my level 4 NVQ and HNC in buisness and should have these by the end of 2016. Stakeholder interaction has also played a huge part in my role and I think that my ability to communicate with all has improved. I have also learnt to "grow a thicker skin" and sometimes written communications can be misread leading to confusion and this is sometimes portrayed as anger, however to complete tasks the whole team needs to pull together.
3. To what extent do you enjoy your programme?
I think my team were incredibly welcoming and that helps in such a big department however I think that the whole departments attitude is a very negative one, there is rarely a positive story from the offices and it usually seems that we a lagging behind on both results and technology. It can often get people down when they are unable to complete work or hit deadlines because of the lacking resources. I think that the position itself should have been advertised better without the use of terms such as "management" because this misled myself when applying. In London anyway EO is one of the lowest grades and it certainly feels it sometimes.
4. How valued do you feel by Civil Service?
If I am being completely honest I don't feel valued by HMRC but I think that is because of the location. Being an EO in London can often be disheartening due to the calibre of the work being low and feeling as if you are the bottom of the pile. However there are better opportunities in London to develop so although it's not all positive now I'm sure it will be in the future.
5. How well organised/structured is your programme?
From Capita's side it is very poor we have not had an official assessor assigned to us yet and we are 4/5 months in to the position. The civil servise also seem to be lacking as the courses we were supposed to attend in the first 2 months haven't actually been organised until month 4/5. The support network here is very good however, I know my line manager and mentor well and I get plenty of time for my own study but from the organisation of the whole scheme it sort of feels as if the civil service are just "filling a quota".
6a. How much support do you receive from your training provider?
Minimal at this current stage, with no assessor and my HNC tutor missing 2 of our first meetings it feels as if Capita don't actually care about their business. It all seems very last minute, which when you are trying to gain a qualificaion is slightly frustrating.
6b. How much support do you receive from your employer?
HMRC and my line manager want me to succeed so this is very good, I feel like there is always a position here for me. Many of my colleages are interested in the scheme and always ask me questions which I enjoy answering.
7. How well does your salary/package meet your costs?
Very well, the salary is one of the highest for an apprentceship and is generous to say the least. It's just London is a bit pricey.
8. Are there many opportunities outside of work?
There are but they are extremely hard to find and are rarely in London, trying to find a 5-a-side team has been an impossible task.
9. Would you recommend Civil Service to a friend?
Because the scheme is a good alternative to university but it's very early stages and I think it still needs more dedicated work before it can rival the private sector.
10. What tips or advice would you give to others applying to Civil Service?
Make sure you stay in contact as it may be a few months before you hear anything back. be confident and it's not all about the best grades, the civil service employs well rounded people with a good talent in most areas.
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