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Apprenticeships – carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero!

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When Horace penned the words, carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero (seize the day, put very little trust in tomorrow) he appreciated the value of not leaving to chance future happenings, but rather to do all one can today to make one's future better.

Building our future organisational capability and growing our talent is something we cannot leave to chance. In developing that potential, the government has committed to supporting 3 million apprenticeship starts in England over the course of this Parliament, and 30,000 of these will be based in the Civil Service by 2020.

This is a huge investment in people capability, and one that will play a vital role in equipping people across the Civil Service with the skills and experience needed to deliver great work, sometimes under very challenging circumstances.

The CMA has ‘seized the day’ in developing its Apprenticeship Training Programme.

Our first apprentice joined in February 2017, and since the apprentice levy came in to effect in April 2017 we have looked at ways to use our targeted 2.3% apprentice new starters as a strategic resource to help develop future capability in priority areas and professions hard to recruit to.

We have proactively used apprenticeship funding as an opportunity to train existing staff to gain new skills and knowledge to progress their careers more widely across the CMA.

We have also built on our apprentice activity by externally recruiting apprentices to posts within our establishment list, allocating apprentices to a range of CMA roles, across professions.

In seeking their input on this blog, they commented that:

opening doors is what this apprenticeship course is about,

my main reason for undertaking the NVQ in Business Administration is… it would shine a light on what I may be able to transfer my skills over to moving forwards,

the Apprenticeship is a fantastic route to get where I wish to be – at the very best of my abilities,

this apprenticeship programme has hugely enhanced my ambitions of progressing within the Civil Service

The majority of our new apprentices have been registered on Level 4 programmes, the qualification equivalent to Foundation degree level. Those already enrolled are progressing well on those schemes and some are now in their final phases of study.

However, apprenticeships are available across a range of qualification levels – from level 2 (equivalent to 5 GCSE passes at A* to C) to level 7 (equivalent to a master’s degree). We are seeking ways to offer apprenticeships in the CMA across this range to benefit the most from the opportunities these avail to us.

Today’s apprenticeships offer quality learning that’s developed by experts in their field. Many lead to a recognised qualification or accreditation, and you can take them in a variety of ways, including workplace learning, formal learning and digital learning.

The CMA is committed to supporting apprenticeship development and already has a strategy in place for the new financial year (2018 to 2019) to use the apprentice scheme to reflect the core business needs of the CMA and enable the growth of talent across our professions.

We recognise the need to support our Apprentices and have set up a number of locally arranged activities. Each month all CMA Apprentices are invited to a lunchtime session to network with their peers and to support each other’s learning. At these sessions, guest speakers are invited from the business to talk through their role and discuss their career journey. The CMA’s Apprentices are also given access to mentors, cross-Whitehall apprentice network activities and a single point of contact at the CMA should they have any issues with their learning or work placement.

During the week of the 5 March to the 9 March we are celebrating our apprentices as part of National Apprenticeship Week 2018. To support this, we are sharing content through our social media channels using #NAW2018 to show what life is like as a CMA apprentice.

So please follow our tweets and posts and seize the day – carpe diem et al.

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