First 100 apprentices – non-graduates aged 18 to 21 – will be recruited in April to work in government departments
Bright school leavers will soon be able apply to become apprentice civil servants under a scheme to be launched on Monday by the Cabinet Office and civil service.
The first 100 apprentices, aged 18 to 21, will be recruited in April, and will learn on the job in government departments from September 2013 for at least the next two years.
The Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude and the head of the civil service, Sir Bob Kerslake, will announce they plan to increase the number of places available to 500 a year, matching the fast-track scheme already in place for university graduates.
. A department spokesman said the scheme would offer the chance of a permanent career. “The apprenticeships will be advertised as permanent opportunities to join the Civil Service and, subject to satisfactory performance they are guaranteed to be a civil servant once it is over,” he said.
The scheme is being launched at a time when departments are shedding thousands of civil servants, with many more to come under cutbacks coming down the line. At the Department for Education alone, the education secretary, Michael Gove, is planning to cut 1,000 of almost 4,000 civil servants.
Further details of the scheme, including the grades expected of applicants and which departments they may be heading for, will be announced later, but in a statement the government says: “The scheme will strengthen the civil service with talented young people who have chosen not to go to university.”
Maude said: “We are working to reform the civil service, building on its strengths while addressing its weaknesses. Like any big organisation, the success of the civil service depends on its staff. It already employs some of Britain’s best and brightest and we have one of the most popular graduate schemes. But we are in a global race and we need to attract more of the best talent, including those who have chosen not to pursue higher education.”
Kerslake, possibly apprehensive that the prospect of going straight into the civil service might not look instantly alluring to school leavers, said a recent survey showed 89% of staff were interested in their work.
“Our graduate fast-stream programme is consistently ranked in the Times top 100 graduate employers and our ambition is for this civil service fast-track apprenticeship scheme to have the same credibility and status. Indeed, the scheme would place the civil service amongst the best in the private sector.
“We are committed to giving more young people a chance to work at the heart of government and to receive first-class training. Just because someone hasn’t been to university doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have a bright career ahead of them.”