In the last 6 months I have completed my Fast Track apprenticeship, been successful in applying for a new job earning nearly £30,000 a year and have been getting to know my gorgeous baby daughter.
Rewind back to 2005 and things weren’t quite as rosy. I had just found out my parents were separating I’d lost interest in my university studies realising my degree was a bit pointless and I had no idea what to do next. Looking back I had found myself in a strange city with no job, no prospects, and no idea.
Over the next 10 years I tried my hand at a number of different jobs all entry level, always with the idea that I could get in and work my way up. Enthusiasm however quickly died off time and again as the promises of progression and development never materialised and I was left feeling frustrated tired and stuck in a rut. I genuinely thought I would never do anything with my life and I would be ‘stuck’ in dead end jobs for the rest of my working life.
Then just over 2 years ago when I was looking at what to try next as I grew frustrated in my then job, I happened across something called a fast-track apprenticeship with the Civil Service. I had a look at the role, and thought the offer of £18-23k starting sounded too good to be true, I never thought could be possible for an apprenticeship. I went through the application, and was invited to an assessment centre.
The assessment was daunting, it was a three part assessment, part one involved a lot of writing against the clock (something dyslexia means I struggle with) the second part was a group assessment, working with strangers whilst being observed to create and present back a proposal to our examiners. Finally I had an interview which was probably the least stressful part but normally enough to have me break out in a cold sweat.
Clearly despite the nerves and challenges of the day it had gone well as around four weeks later I was informed that I had been successful and would be posted in due course. I was over the moon, and couldn’t wait to start.
Once I began my career, there were the usual nerves, then the awe of the responsibility of the relatively small team I would be in (£70m budget) and finally the feeling that I was a fraud and couldn’t do it. With the support of colleagues and managers I grew into my new role, developing the skills and knowledge to thrive.
That two years later I am ready to graduate, having already gained a promotion and now work on one of the biggest transformation programmes in the country is testament to the support and development opportunities offered by the Fast Track scheme and the civil service as a whole.
Simply put it’s been a life changing opportunity that I feel incredibly lucky to have had. It has undoubtedly been key in me developing greater self-awareness, self-confidence and building a more satisfying and balanced work-life balance.