Going to university was always something I was steered towards by my family, school and college.
I did well at school and my A-Level results last year were good enough to go to university, but was I really ready?
Choosing your career at the age of 18 was never something that appealed to me. I had always been a fan of the sciences, which I had studied at A-Level, but I didn't know if I wanted a career in them.
I found out about the Civil Service Fast Track Apprenticeship Scheme in March last year and I was immediately interested in applying. The chance to earn a wage working for the government whilst studying for a qualification was definitely an attractive offer. Luckily enough I was successful in my application and I started in HMRC last September.
Since starting the scheme has given me some brilliant experiences and opportunities.
I have been able to shadow senior managers within the government to get a real idea of what the Civil Service is all about. I've also met Lord Adonis who kindly gave the apprentices a tour around the Houses of Parliament explaining what it was like to be part of the House of Lords.
These experiences are all designed to help apprentices develop their skills.
On joining I was placed in a management role, which is something I would have never been able to do elsewhere if not for this scheme.
I had little experience of managing large teams but I've had help all the way through by my manager and the learning team who support our qualification.
Don’t worry if you don’t fancy being a manager though, there are loads of different roles available, from personal assistants to even a compliance specialist, working as a detective to cut error and fraud.
The experience I've gained is invaluable because I can take the skills with me wherever I go at the end of my apprenticeship.
This is a great opportunity if you are a looking for an alternative to university. There are a wide range of courses such as finance, business and IT, and all with the benefit of getting paid whilst you gain experience. You might even get a permanent role at the end of it.
I have some great options ahead of me once the apprenticeship is over. I can apply to join the Fast Stream - which is usually open to graduates - or go to university. The point is I've got a better idea what I want to do now, and the scheme has meant I haven't had to rush any decisions.
Visit the Fast Track homepage on GOV.UK for more information on who can apply, how to apply and the different apprenticeship schemes on offer.
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