Getting onto the Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship scheme

Dominic Claeys-Jackson, Editor
February, 2017

Want to make a genuine difference to society while earning a salary of up to £27,000? An apprenticeship in the Civil Service could be for you…

The Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship is a 24-month programme that sees more than 700 new employees every year work towards a Level 4 qualification.

Opportunities to join a range of professions are available across the UK. 'We're looking for really motivated people who want to make a difference and are passionate about contributing to all areas of our work,' explains Phil Wilson, chief assessor and chief psychologist.

What schemes are available?

The apprenticeship schemes on offer include:

  • Business - Get involved in managing communications, coordinating meetings, and dealing with customers. Applicants require five GCSEs, at grades A*-C, including English language and maths.
  • Commercial - Be part of some of the most challenging and interesting projects in government, ranging from procuring prisons for the Ministry of Justice to marketing Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) new IT systems. Applicants require five GCSEs, at grades A*-C, including English language and maths.
  • Digital and technology - Develop valuable digital and technical skills in development, service management, testing or user support. Applicants require two A-levels, at grades A*-C, and five GCSEs at grades A*-C, including English language and maths.
  • Finance - Contribute to financial management within government, helping the Civil Service to deliver value to taxpayers. Applicants require five GCSEs, at grades A*-C, including English language and maths.
  • Project delivery - Work on some of the most fast-paced and exciting projects being undertaken in the UK. Applicants require two A-levels graded A*-D, and five GCSEs, at grades A*-C, including English language and maths.

How do you apply?

First and foremost, you need to check that you meet the Civil Service's entry criteria. In addition to the qualifications listed above as the requirements of each scheme, you must also:

  • be a European Economic Area (EEA) national, commonwealth citizen, Swiss national or, in some circumstances, a Turkish national
  • be aged 16 or older on 31 August, 2017
  • be eligible to work in the UK
  • have lived in the UK for at least two of the last ten years, including at least one continuous 12-month period
  • not have a Bachelors degree.

The application process consists of three steps:

  1. An application form - Here you need to provide your personal details, scheme and location preferences, and describe any assistance you may need through the recruitment process.
  2. Online psychometric tests - This stage will involve completing a series of tests online which will help us to see if you have the judgement, skills and practical abilities to be considered for the scheme at this stage.
  3. An assessment centre - This stage will involve you being invited to attend an assessment centre, where you will complete a group task, written task and strengths-based interview. Those who pass the assessment centre are invited to join the scheme.

Applications for the 2017 Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship scheme are open until 18 April. For tips on how to impress with your application, see how to apply for an apprenticeship.

What is the Civil Service looking for?

Like many public sector employers, the Civil Service aims to recruit people who demonstrate skills in leadership, creativity, decision-making and flexible thinking. The Civil Service also requires its apprentices to show:

  • A passion for learning - You must have a strong focus on continuous learning. 'Be open to keeping one’s own knowledge and skillset current and evolving,' explains Phil.
  • A desire to make a difference - Phil says that apprentices must champion the principles of fairness and opportunity for all. 'You must show pride and passion for public service, communicating purpose and direction with clarity, integrity, and enthusiasm,' he adds.
  • Good judgement - All apprentices are required to use evidence and knowledge to arrive at accurate decisions and deliver professional, expert advice. 'It’s also about being careful and thoughtful about the use and protection of government and public information,' Phil notes.
  • Good teamwork skills - Phil reveals that the Civil Service requires its apprentices to work collaboratively, share information appropriately and build supportive, trusting and professional relationships with colleagues and external contacts alike.
  • Openness to change - Civil Service apprentices should take initiative, be innovative and create effective change. 'It's about learning from what has worked as well as what has not, being open to improvement, and working in smarter, more focused ways,' says Phil.
  • Perseverance - All staff must work to agreed goals and activities, and deal with challenges responsively and constructively. 'Effectiveness in this area means focusing on delivering timely performance with energy, and taking responsibility and accountability for quality outcomes,' Phil concludes.

The Civil Service also offers a programme for graduates, called the Civil Service fast stream. If you're unsure what to do after completing your GCSEs or A-levels, discover whether a degree or an apprenticeship is right for you.