Getting onto the Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship scheme

Jemma Smith, Editor
February, 2018

If you want to earn while you learn and make a genuine difference to society, why not join over 1,500 apprentices on the Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship scheme?

The is a 24-month, level 4 higher apprenticeship programme providing a rewarding alternative to university and a route into the Civil Service.

Why choose the Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship programme?

There are plenty of benefits to joining the scheme but firstly, what is the Civil Service?

Its purpose is to help the government of the day carry out its policies. The Civil Service also delivers essential services such as shaping healthcare and ensuring the UK has secure, affordable energy.

As an apprentice on the Fast Track programme you'll enjoy flexible working arrangements and get to choose between six different schemes, each focused on a specific area of the Civil Service. Programmes are available nationwide, from Glasgow to Torquay and from Liverpool to Newcastle.

You'll be assigned a mentor to help you develop important skills and networks to aid your career progression. Other benefits include a starting salary between £19,500 and £27,000 (with a minimum of £22,000 in London), an employer contribution pension scheme and access to a range of sports and social clubs.

What schemes are available?

The Fast Track apprenticeship offers the following programmes:

  • - Offering the widest variety of roles, apprentices on the Business scheme will help to deliver some of the organisations most important services. Working towards a level 4 Diploma in Business and Professional Administration and an NVQ Diploma in Business Administration you could work as a paralegal officer, policy adviser, diary manager, work coach or project and programme support officer. Applicants require five GCSEs, at grades A*-C (or the new grade 4 or above), including English language and maths.
  • - Be part of some of the most challenging and interesting projects in government, ranging from buying battleships for the Ministry of Defence, 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 (or the new grade 4 or above), including English language and maths. Upon completion you'll have achieved a Level 4 Diploma with the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply.
  • - Gives you the chance to be at the heart of the digital transformation of government services. You can get involved in coding, website development and extracting and understanding data, in roles as diverse as software developer, network engineer and business analyst. Applicants require two A-levels, at grades A*-C, and five GCSEs at grades A*-C (or the new grade 4 or above), including English language and maths.
  • - Contribute to financial management within government and help the taxpayer to get more for their money. You could work as an accounts executive, analyst, control officer or costs budget manager. Applicants require five GCSEs, at grades A*-C (or the new grade 4 or above), including English language and maths.
  • - Introduced in 2018, policy apprentices will support the key phases of policy development, implementation and evaluation. The policy that you help to shape could influence the way people live their day-to-day lives. You'll need an interest in government and how policy is shaped, good written communication skills and the ability to see the wider impact of your work. Applicants also require five GCSEs at grades A*-C (or the new grade four or above), including maths and English. Additionally, you'll need two A-levels at grade D or above or an equivalent level three qualification.
  • - Work on some of the most fast-paced and exciting projects being undertaken in the UK, from airport expansion and court reform to building new schools. Applicants require two A-levels graded A*-D, and five GCSEs, at grades A*-C (or the new grade 4 or above), including English language and maths.

How do I 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 over
  • 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.

While university graduates cannot apply to be an apprentice on the scheme, they can apply to be part of the Civil Service through the graduate programme.

The application process for the Fast Track Apprenticeship consists of three steps:

  1. Register your details - Here you need to provide your personal details, scheme and location preferences, and describe any assistance you may need through the recruitment process.
  2. Complete four online psychometric tests - You'll need to complete a verbal reasoning, numerical reasoning and situational judgement test as well as a competency-based questionnaire to help the Civil Service see if you have the right skills and practical abilities to be considered for the scheme. The tests take about an hour to complete.
  3. Attend an assessment centre - If you successfully complete the online tests you'll be invited to attend a half-day assessment centre. This involves a face-to-face interview, group exercises and a written assessment. Those who pass the assessment centre are invited to join the scheme.

The Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship scheme opens for applications on the 28 February 2018. Find out more about applying for an apprenticeship.

Where can the apprenticeship lead?

Upon completion of the programme you'll be a permanent employee of the Civil Service and as such, will be able to work towards a career in one of the 25 Civil Service professions.

You'll be able to apply for jobs via the Civil Service Jobs website and develop your knowledge and skills by utilising the resources provided by Civil Service Learning.

You'll be able to progress your career by seeking further accreditation, with the full support of your employers. What's more, despite never having gone to university, you'll be able to apply for a position on the Civil Service Fast Stream graduate programme.

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 organisation also requires its apprentices to show:

  • a passion for learning
  • a desire to make a difference
  • good judgement
  • good teamwork skills
  • an openness to change
  • perseverance.

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.

Find out more