Cabinet Office halts Fast Track apprenticeship applications for 2019

Written by Richard Johnstone on 25 February 2019 in News

Flagship scheme “under review” but expected to be relaunched in 2020, government confirms

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The government’s flagship Fast Track civil service apprenticeship scheme will not open for applications in 2019 due to a review of the programme, the Cabinet Office has announced.

In a statement on Friday, the Cabinet Office said the two-year programme, which is a level 4 higher apprenticeship and is intended to provide a cross-government programme alongside departmental schemes, was “currently under review”.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to evolve the program, but it does mean that for 2019 we will not be open for applications,” the statement said.


A Cabinet Office spokesman confirmed to CSW that the review was being undertaken “to make improvements to what we offer future apprentices from 2020”.

“Those currently on the scheme will not be affected,” the spokesman added. “The civil service runs apprenticeship schemes across all government departments and applicants can continue to apply for them.”

The Fast Track was launched in 2013 and formed a key part of the civil service’s response to the government’s target to create 3 million apprenticeship starts by 2020.  

Since then, over 2,000 apprentices have joined the programme and kick-started their civil service career across six of government’s professions: business administration; commercial; finance; digital, data and technology; policy; and project delivery.

A total of 976 apprentices were taken on across its 2017 and 2018 programmes, and the annual report, published last December, said the Cabinet Office had been working in the year “to identify opportunities to evolve and enhance the delivery of the scheme”.

It added that “our ambition is to deliver a consistent quality of experience for apprentices across all departments, professions and locations” through improved quality of learning provision across all schemes and locations; and creating a greater sense of community by giving all apprentices the opportunity to form strong networks.

However, that report indicated that there were still plans for a 2019 recruitment round at that time, stating: “We are already taking steps to address these three areas and this is something we will continue to focus upon in the upcoming 2019 Fast Track campaign.”

About the author

Richard Johnstone is CSW's deputy and online editor and tweets as @CSW_DepEd

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Submitted on 25 February, 2019 - 14:00
Perhaps the message finally got through about just how dysfunctional this scheme really is? Having been completely let down right across the board since I joined this "flagship" scheme in 2015, by both the apprenticeship programme and my own department, I will never again waste my time with such shameless white elephants, which proclaim to be industry-leading development programmes but are in actual fact akin to a lottery system, insofar as apprentices like myself can end up working in environments that do not have the training or infrastructure to nurture and support ambitious people and apprentices are merely regarded as a burden on already depleted resources.

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