Civil service opens up to those who skip university

By Tony Hudson

Young people who choose not to go to university could end up being fast-tracked to jobs advising ministers in Whitehall if they sign up to a new apprenticeship scheme announced by the Civil Service.

The fast track apprenticeship scheme is being implemented to attract the same number of young people joining the Civil Service from a non-university background as the current graduate fast stream does.

The announcement comes as part of the Civil Service reform plan and is designed exclusively for 18-21 year olds who do not have a university education. The intended effect is to create a less bureaucratic and more digital public service.

Civil Service head Sir Bob Kerslake expressed his support for the scheme, saying he had "no doubt" it would be successful in attracting young people to sign up.

"I hope young people come forward to learn what the scheme has to offer – it could be one of the best decisions they ever make," he said.

The scheme has also received support from government ministers.

Cabinet office minister Francis Maude said the scheme "will help ensure that we continue to attract the brightest and the best people to work for us", while skills minister Matthew Hancock called it "a fantastic opportunity for people – regardless of their background".

"Our ambition is to make it the norm for school leavers to either go to university or do an apprenticeship, schemes like this are crucial to making this a reality," he added.