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Issue:- 26 September 2014

Local apprentice joins the fast track to a career in government

MAXWELL Dixon from Liverpool was among 200 talented school leavers welcomed to government last week as Civil Service Fast Track Apprentices by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude.

Launched in 2013, the Fast Track Apprenticeship scheme offers 18 to 21 year olds who don't want to go to university a credible alternative to the Civil Service graduate Fast Stream. They are placed in Executive Officer roles with real responsibility and genuine career prospects; working on the Government's digital agenda in Newcastle, helping people into work in Birmingham, or working with ministers in Whitehall.

Maxwell recently began an apprenticeship at HMRC as a Front Line Manager in Benefits and Credits, looking at Childcare claims. He found out about the Fast Track Apprenticeship scheme while still at school, and applied the year afterwards, and is delighted to have the opportunity to begin a career in the Civil Service.

He says:- "I would definitely recommend Fast Track Apprentices to other young people. It is a great opportunity. I didn't want to go to university, and after leaving school I worked at Aldi for 10 months but then I applied for this apprenticeship and was successful. I have only recently started the job and am still going through the tasks and processes – I am the youngest in the office at the moment but everyone is very friendly and helpful.  The Deputy Prime Minister's reception was a brilliant experience. I got to meet lots of the other young apprentices and will definitely keep in touch with them."

The apprenticeship scheme is part of the Government's drive to increase opportunities in the Civil Service for people of all backgrounds and create a Civil Service fit for 21st Britain. It gives apprentices the chance to earn as they learn and develop their skills at the heart of government.

Applications for the 200 places on the scheme this year – twice the number available in 2013 – rose by 30% to almost 3,000.

For the 3rd intake, in 2015, the number of Fast Track Apprenticeships on offer is set to double again to 400. The aim is to increase the places available to 500 each year, making the scheme comparable in size to the long-established Civil Service Fast Stream graduate programme, and as well-respected.

You can register your interest in applying for the 2015 scheme here.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:- "It's important that schemes like this get the recognition they deserve, marking a clear step away from the barely concealed snobbery around vocational education.  Apprentices make a fantastic contribution to our society and I want young people from every background to know that if they choose to pursue their career in the Civil Service, work hard and prove themselves, nothing should stop them from making their way right to the top."

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:- "The Civil Service already employs some of Britain's most talented people, but this Government launched the Fast Track Apprenticeship scheme to attract those who have chosen not to go to university. This year's 200 new apprentices will be joined next year by another 400. The scheme opens the door to a challenging and rewarding Civil Service career."

Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service Sir Jeremy Heywood said:- "With the Fast Track Apprenticeship Scheme we want to provide the same high-quality opportunities for school leavers that we offer graduates through our Fast Stream. The Fast Track also allows us to draw on a broader talent pool for the future leaders of the Civil Service. For the apprentices we are welcoming today, this is the start of an exciting journey on which they will develop the skills and experience they need for a career in the Civil Service and a chance to make a difference. If you want to join them, register now to avoid missing out on the opportunity."

Fast Track Apprentices benefit from a structured, 2 year training programme and are expected to develop a range of skills. At the end of the scheme, they will have the opportunity to apply internally as permanent employees for other Civil Service career opportunities.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Francis Maude congratulated this year's successful applicants at an induction event in central London, on the theme "Understanding the Civil Service."

Last chance to nominate Merseyside volunteers for Queen's Award

MERSEYSIDE residents are being encouraged to nominate local volunteers for a Queen's Award for Voluntary Service before the deadline at the end of this month.  The prestigious award for volunteer groups across the UK recognises their outstanding work in local communities. Any group of 2 or more people can be nominated that has participated in voluntary work for more than 3 years.  The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service was created in 2002 to celebrate the Queen's Golden Jubilee. Winners are announced each year on 2 June, the anniversary of the Queen's Coronation. This year there were 111 winners representing a variety of inspiring organisations. Brooks Newmark, Minister for Civil Society, said:- "Every day across the country, fantastic voluntary groups work with their communities to make a real difference to people in their local area.  If you know of a voluntary group that has gone above and beyond to help people, I would like to urge you to nominate them for a Queen's Award for Voluntary Service."  The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service Award Committee Chair, former BBC newsreader Martyn Lewis CBE, added:- "At grassroots level in communities across the land, there are millions of people identifying and tackling issues and problems that affect our society in all kinds of ways.  They give selflessly of time and effort to make our country better for everyone. It is people like these who deserve to be recognised by the Queen's Award." Winners receive a certificate signed by the Queen and an exclusive commemorative crystal. These are presented by Her Majesty's Lord Lieutenants at special ceremonies arranged by the Lieutenancy offices. Representatives of award recipients may also be invited to one of the Royal Garden Party events in the summer of 2015.  The closing date for nominations for the 2014 Awards is Tuesday 30 September 2014. More details are available online.

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