https://companieshouse.blog.gov.uk/2019/10/08/digital-apprenticeship-at-companies-house/

Digital apprenticeships at Companies House

After feeling a bit stuck in my job at the time and jumping from one admin role to another, I decided it might be time to change tack if I wanted to pursue a career

I didn’t know what I wanted to do exactly, but I was sure my film degree wouldn’t help me. I found myself flicking through job adverts like it was JustEat  either I didn’t fancy anything or I was out of the delivery area.

But then I saw an advert for a digital apprenticeship role at Companies House on the Civil Service Jobs website. I assumed it would only be for recent graduates but after a bit of research, I found out almost everyone is eligible to apply. So I decided there was no harm in submitting an application.

The thought of trying out different roles before committing to a job really appealed to me. And even if there wasn’t a permanent position for me at the end, at least I would have an NVQ, new skills and work experience to show for my time.

Whether you’re already looking for an opportunity to start a career in technology or looking for a career change, our new digital apprenticeship roles could be a great fit for you.

The recruitment process

Applying for the apprenticeship was fairly straightforward. The online application service on Civil Service Jobs clearly explained the relevant competencies I needed to demonstrate in my application form.

Once this was submitted, I was immediately invited to take a numeracy test online. You’re not shown your results, but you can see how you compare to other candidates. I spent 2 weeks refreshing that page until I was invited to interview.

At the interview, I was asked to prepare and deliver a presentation on rolling out Windows 10 to the business. Then I was asked questions on the competencies. While the recruitment process was similar to other jobs I’d applied for, I found the environment to be more relaxed and the questions related well to the application form.

After what felt like waiting forever, I was emailed with the good news that I was offered one of 2 positions and asked to begin the pre-employment checks. 

Juggling work and assignments

There were 4 roles for me to experience within the product team: interaction designer, performance analyst, product manager and user researcher.

Rather than dedicate 6 months to each role, my manager and I worked out a system where I would follow several projects so I could naturally see how to work in an agile way and where each role fits in.

Digital apprentice Oceanne sat at a desk in Companies House.
Oceanne at work with the digital team.

My daily work activities were not just attending meetings and answering emails like I’d been used to. And I was able to do some practical and job-specific tasks. Some of my favourites included:

  • observing and helping to run some user testing of prototypes in-house in Bristol and London 
  • creating reports using data from the operations teams and presenting the findings to managers 
  • creating and sending surveys, and conducting interviews with respondents 
  • helping to translate one of Companies House’s biggest services 
  • building a prototype for an extensions service using newly learned coding skills (thanks to the ever-patient Ollie Williams) 
  • attending a service assessment to see the extensions service pass and move on to private beta

I was assigned a tutor for the qualification and met with him once a month, though he was always on hand to answer my trivial questions. I was set tasks each month to work towards my modules. There was also one exam to sit which I felt well prepared for.

I would recommend befriending the other apprentice to help you stay on track, and for a bit of friendly competition to see who can complete their modules first.

Job opportunities after the apprenticeship

My contract with Companies House was fixed term for 2 years and I was given 18 months to complete my NVQ qualification with ACT.

While I was not guaranteed a job at the end, I could apply for positions that came up. I could also carry the qualification over to the new position with the managers approval. The experience of roles I took on within the product team and Companies House put me in an advantageous position when it came to looking at civil service job adverts.

After 6 months in the apprenticeship, Companies House began a recruitment drive in the digital team. I applied to gain experience and show that I was serious about becoming an interaction designer. It seems the team had trained me right and couldn’t get enough of me - because I got the job! I’ll now spend my days designing, building and testing prototypes of online services for the teams to build.

Within 9 months of starting the apprenticeship I had completed the qualificationhad a permanent position as a mid-level interaction designer and, importantly, a taste for curry Thursdays in the canteen.

Find out more about our digital apprenticeship opportunities – we hope you’ll join us at Companies House.

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2 comments

  1. Comment by Nathalie Kincaid posted on

    Wow! I am impressed by Oceanne’s determination, the speed at which she finished her internship and getting a full time job after only 9 months. I am also impressed by Company’s House internship selection, how you are choosing your interns is to be recommended. Your gamble (and experience) has surely paid off. Keep up the good work.