We currently offer two apprenticeships; the Level 4 Data Analyst programme and the Level 6 Data Scientist programme.
Apprenticeships are a vital route into the GSS profession, allowing people from all backgrounds to study while working with and learning from experienced professionals across government.
We recognise that investing in people and offering excellent apprenticeships will enable us to grow an engaged and committed workforce that has the right skills to deliver a high-quality service to our users.
An apprenticeship programme offers learning alongside formal employment, where you’ll apply and develop your new skills. You’ll be learning off the job for 20% of the time and working in government for the other 80%.
Impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on current apprentices
Apprenticeship programme with ALS
For those undertaking the level 4 Data Analyst Apprenticeship Programme with ALS, they are currently using their web based eportfolio systems One File and VQ Manager to continue to work with all apprentices remotely. This enables ALS to set the apprentices learning plans, tasks and assignments remotely. It also gives the ability to carry out progress reviews remotely with full interaction between the advisor, apprentice and supervisor or line manager.
ALS advisors can assess any work submitted and provide feedback to both the apprentice and line manager on progress. Where possible their advisors are supporting apprentices virtually using systems such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom (particularly in relation to workshop training). In cases where these systems cannot be used, they are supporting via phone calls. All ALS staff have Outlook accounts and the option of email is also in place to support apprentices.
Apprenticeship programme with QA
QA has put a number of contingency plans in place to ensure as little disruption to learners’ progression as possible. Their focus has been on ensuring they can deliver the same quality of training through remote and virtual platforms to meet the growing restrictions on travel and need for social distancing. Their priority is maintaining their learner and staff safety while also ensuring learners are able to progress through their apprenticeships in a timely and supported manner.
All aspects of learners’ apprenticeships can now be completed remotely while still maintaining regular contact with their skills coaches, tutors and other key contacts within QA.
Skills Coach Progression Visits
All QA skills coaches have been resourced to work remotely so they are able to conduct their usual progress reviews via a remote platform.
The first option is for this to be completed via Webex but, where Webex is not accessible for learners, this can be conducted via telephone. All review documentation can be signed remotely using Adobe sign and transferred via any email address accessible to learners and line managers. This is in effect for all skills coaches from Monday but it has already been put in place where it is required.
QA has put in place the infrastructure to allow for all courses to be delivered via one of two remote means.
Firstly, through Attend from Anywhere. This is a regular and well-established offering within the QA learning portfolio in which the learner can view the class through a camera.
Secondly through Virtual Delivery. This can be accessed through Webex and will allow the full course to be delivered with tutors presenting the course material remotely.
This change to course delivery has been implemented from 23 March 2020.
End Point Assessment (EPA)
Both the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and the Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) have provided QA with instructions and guidance on how to conduct the full EPA requirement remotely. This will allow all learners to complete the programme without having to travel. We expect to receive the same guidance from our other awarding bodies in the near future.
Induction and Programme Starts
Much like progress reviews, all the necessary capability is in place for learner induction visits to be completed remotely. All documentation is completed through Adobe Sign.
Where possible QA urges departments to support learners in accessing the requisite technology during working hours in order to take part in the aforementioned activities – whether that be through the use of their personal or department equipment.
In instances where the necessary technology or capability to access remote learning is not available, QA will endeavour to work with departments and learners to achieve the best possible outcome. Your service specialists will work with departments to identify these instances as quickly as possible.
All of QA’s supporting structures (such as the Apprenticeship Hub, Learner Services, Compliance and Scheduling), have been resourced to work remotely and are equipped to continue supporting learners as normal.
Level 6 Data Science Apprenticeship programme in England
Apprentices undertaking the level 6 programme will be doing so through York St John University. The university have produced comprehensive guidance for students on their website, with specific information for apprentices. Updates will be uploaded by the university directly to this page and they will draw any specific changes to employer’s attention via a weekly email.
York St John have confirmed that tasks and resources will be uploaded regularly on the apprentice’s Moodle page (their online learning platform). May and June’s teaching weeks will be going ahead as timetabled via remote delivery – apprentices can access more information via their Moodle page.
It is very important that the apprentices are engaged and responsive with their subject lead during this time. They should ensure they are accessing their Moodle account on a regular basis.
Level 6 Data Science Apprenticeship programme in Wales
Cardiff Met University have confirmed they are in contact with their apprentices and regular communications updating them on current circumstances are being sent. A frequently asked questions document has been circulated to apprentices via their Student Room app. Information for students can be found on the Student Room COVID-19 update area.
The university have also asked their apprentices to continuing accessing their Moodle accounts, as well as the online library for access to journals and books. If they have specific programme queries they should contact their Module leader. For anything else they should contact Imtiaz Khan by email: IKhan@cardiffmet.ac.uk.
Frequently asked questions
The two programmes would suit:
- people studying technical or vocational courses, e.g. students with BTEC qualifications in relevant areas including business, science, mathematics, ICT
- A Level student’s studying a wide combination of subjects, eg STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and those who are studying other subjects with interest in data science
- apprentices and other young people already in work
- adults in or out of work who meet entry requirements
- existing civil servants – people who have joined the Civil Service without first getting a degree or who have a degree in something other than data science
- those not eligible to join the GSG profession through other entry routes such as Statistical officer
The GSS apprenticeships are delivered in conjunction with our training providers, details of the programmes and providers are:
- Level 4 Data Analyst in England – QA
- Level 4 Data Analyst in Wales ALS
- Level 6 Data Scientist in England York St John
- Level 6 Data Scientist in Wales Cardiff Metropolitan
Most GSS Apprentices who are recruited in for either programme, are recruited on Fixed Term Appointments (FTAs). As with any FTA there is no job guarantee at the end. Each department has their own apprenticeship strategy and apprentice contracts, their length and conversions to permanency are matters for departments to decide upon.
Line managers should support apprentices in applying for roles at the end of the apprenticeship and should seek support from their departmental HR team who will be able to advise on the departmental approach to apprentice contracts.
As the apprentices recruited through the GSS have been recruited on merit under fair and open competition, they can apply for internal posts across the Civil Service.
Completion of either apprenticeship programme does not automatically lead to a promotion.
Continuing professional development for apprentices
Continuing professional development (CPD) is necessary for people to maintain knowledge and skills related to their professional lives.
Apprentices can keep a record of their learning by using the GSS CPD log book (ods, 13KB).
The purpose of the CPD log book is to:
- keep a running tally of your CPD (planned and unplanned)
- build a record to present to GSS interview boards
- help facilitate a discussion with your manager or mentor or head of profession as a means of monitoring, evaluating and planning your learning and development
The logbook will travel with you as you move from job to job so will serve as a useful record of your CPD throughout your career and will be examined as part of the recruitment and selection process.
On completion of a Level 4 Apprenticeship including at least two years in a statistical or data analysis field in government, you can apply for a badging exercise to join the Government Statistician Group profession. You will need to demonstrate your CPD in statistics or data analysis.