New civil service apprenticeship scheme looks set to open door for school leavers

The brightest and best school leavers will be able to bypass university to head to a new career right at the heart of the Government.

Thanks to a new apprenticeship scheme, the civil service is looking to bring in 100 18 to 21 year-olds at Whitehall, with the first employment intake coming in over September 2013.

According to Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, the Fast Track Apprenticeships will bring in talented school leavers who perhaps do not wish to go into higher education.

He said the Government is working on reforming the whole of the civil service, looking to build on its strengths and address its weaknesses.

Mr Maude added that the success of the civil service depends on its staff, already employing the "best and brightest" across Britain through its popular graduate schemes.

But he said, in a "global race" to bring in fresh talent, that included looking at people who had not chosen to go into higher education.

He added that the new Fast Track Apprenticeship Scheme will bring in high-quality opportunities for 100 young people.

This follows the Government's proposals to boost entry to the top professions in areas such as law through apprenticeships.

Civil service recruitment, which seeks to put successful candidates in Government departments, does not get underway until April.

While this scheme does not guarantee a job, it means people can put an application in for graduate posts. The total places available will be 500, to match the graduate Fast Stream.

Head of the civil service Sir Bob Kerslake said: "The civil service is a great place to work and offers a diverse range of challenging and rewarding jobs - our latest survey shows that 89% of staff are interested in what they do."

He added that the Fast Stream is "consistently ranked in the Times Top 100" for graduate employers, and he has a similar goal for the apprenticeship project, with the civil service scheme being ranked alongside the best firms in the private sector.

He said: "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."

Copyright Press Association 2013