I’m Elliot Williams, a Commercial Fast Track Apprentice working for the Crown Commercial Service based in Holborn, Central London. I started the scheme in September 2015, straight out of Sixth Form after completing my A-Levels.
The Crown Commercial Service’s aim is to make financial savings in the public sector by achieving value for money in all commercial decisions and I achieve this daily by being responsible for Spot Quotes.
My job entails sourcing the market for low value procurements up to the value of £10,000 and making my recommendation to Government Departments such as The Home Office (Border Force), Ministry of Defence and the Cabinet Office on what they should procure. I can also source to a higher value with the approval of line managers with my highest value procurement currently at £30,000.
I have already had many memorable moments in my 6 months of the scheme! My first day has to be up there though because of the excitement and nerves that I had. Stepping into the office for the first time was crazy as I just couldn’t quite believe that I would be working alongside Senior Civil Servants and experienced procurement professionals.
Despite that my most satisfying moment was being told by a Home Office Official that my support and hard work had been ‘invaluable’ to him and Manchester Airport. It made me feel appreciated and that the work I was doing really was helping the Civil Service to reach its capability.
The scheme was more attractive to me than anything else offered including university. I felt, and still do feel, that I can progress my career through the scheme faster than would be possible through university, with plenty of added benefits including a work-related qualification and a starting salary of £23,700.
At the end of my two years on the scheme I will be have the option of applying for a higher position within the Civil Service. I will also be able to apply for the Fast Stream - a prestigious graduate programme that you can apply for as an internal candidate or when successful on Fast Track Scheme. Whatever my decision, at this point I will have 2 years working experience which I already see as invaluable. In addition to this I will also have been earning and avoiding university debt which is a huge draw to the scheme.
I would recommend applying to the Fast Track not only for to the reasons I’ve already mentioned but also because the Commercial Apprenticeship gives you the opportunity to complete a professional qualification with the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply alongside real working experience. This supplies you knowledge and skills to excel in your role whilst also making it easier to understand the learning as you can apply it to what you are doing day to day.