The civil service has launched a degree-level apprenticeship scheme that will see it effectively growing its own economics graduates to work in central government departments.
It will take in around 75 candidates in its first year for placements at HM Treasury, HM Revenue & Customs, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Energy, Business and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Education, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, among others.
The apprenticeship standard for the four-year degree programme was developed by the Treasury, the Bank of England, consultancies and third-sector organisations. The programme will be delivered in partnership with the University of Kent.
Candidates who secure a place on the apprenticeship programme will earn £22,000 in their first year if they are based in London, outside the capital the starting salary is £20448. GES said apprentices would earn £27,000 after graduation.
As well as central government departments, apprenticeships will be offered in Manchester, Bristol, York, Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield.
GES said the scheme was created in recognition of the fact that the government needed more economists, that it wanted those it employed to come from a range of backgrounds, and that the programme would contribute to Whitehall’s goal of creating 30,000 quality apprenticeship starts by 2020.
Joint head of the GES and chief economic adviser at HM Treasury Clare Lombardelli said she hoped the programme would “create new opportunities for talented young people from across the country”.
University of Kent vice-chancellor and president said the on- and off-the-job training and support apprentices would be given would prepare them for “long and successful economist careers”.
Entry requirements are a GCSE grade B or higher in maths and 96 UCAS points – equivalent to three A Levels at grade C. Recruitment for the roles is due to begin in December, with successful candidates due to be notified in spring next year ahead of an autumn start.
GES said that the scheme was open to people who already worked for the civil service as well as to outside candidates. Having a degree already is not a barrier to applying for the scheme, as long as the degree is not in economics.
It added that Economics Apprenticeship Programme graduates would be eligible to apply for the Fast Stream after they graduated.