Apprenticeships

Whether you’re a student ready to leave school, or a career-changer ready for new challenges, FCO Services will expand your horizons.

You’ll get in‑house training, paid qualifications, a great salary and benefits, all while you learn to provide vital services around the world, for government-level customers.

Applications for 2020 will open on 2 March

Applications for this year’s programmes open on 2 March 2020. To make sure you don’t miss out on updates, first register for an account with us, or login here if you already have an account, then click on ‘job alerts’ in the top menu to start setting up your alerts.

Not the career you wanted?

If this isn’t what you had in mind, answer a few questions and we’ll find where you fit.

Programmes we offer

These are our 2020 programmes, opening in March:

  • Technical Engineering
  • Security Design Engineering
  • Logistics
  • IT
  • Finance
  • Data Analysis
  • Building Surveying
  • Building Services Engineering
  • Accounting

For parents and teachers

If you’re a parent or teacher to someone who could be an apprentice, we want to help you talk to your young person about our opportunities.

Who are FCO Services?

FCO Services is part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and set up as what’s called a trading fund. If you don’t know the term, it means that although we’re civil servants working within government, we generate our income by mainly providing services for the rest of the FCO (our biggest customer), other government departments and friendly foreign governments. It means we’re in government, by government, for government. Our priority is to provide secure technical support to the FCO and other customers in overseas posts. We control our own budgets and revenue, and we invest surplus funds back to grow our business and feed into the FCO as our owner.

That means, that when you join us, you’ll find the sense of purpose that comes with public sector work, as part of an organisation that’s commercially-minded.

Hear from our apprentices

For the first couple of months here, it was all about just getting used to it all; asking all the questions I needed to; getting all the mandatory training. My boss would explain to me what he was doing; the process behind everything, and when he was going to meetings with suppliers, he’d take me with him to get a real understanding.

 

Then I finally got to get my teeth stuck into it, and my first project of my own was organising delivery of four laptops to a government customer in Sierra Leone. It went really smoothly, thanks to all the training I’d had, and then it was just onto the next challenge, and another one, and another one. Even though I’m an apprentice, I get a lot of work, with real variety and responsibility.

Project Management Apprentice

The way the company operates just blew me away – I never thought I’d get that support as an apprentice. They’re really interested in our development and they have endless opportunities that way. If I come out of this apprenticeship and think, I’m interested in this particular section, then I can move. There are so many examples of people who’ve done that – gone on to different areas to explore new skills with support from the business.

 

Plus, they really look out for everyone. We have trained Mental Health First Aiders who look out for us all and spot when people need support. There are people you can talk to, our Yellow Belts, who’ll help improve environments and processes for us, so that everyone has the workspace they need.

Technical Engineering Apprentice

I left school, tried university – but it wasn’t really for me, so I dropped out. I took a couple of years out, travelled, worked in retail and estate agencies for a couple of years, but I didn’t really have a lot of direction. And then at 21, I was still just looking for a career and this came along. I had no experience of quantity surveying at all, but it sounded great.

 

Now, I study one day a week at university and balance it with work. University alone wasn’t for me, but here you get the experience of the industry too. Plus it’s not like you’re just studying alone; you’re more supported here. Everyone you work with is willing to help you, and they’ve got that extra practical knowledge to lend you. University is very book-focused, but here you get first-hand experience from your colleagues.

Quantity Surveyor Apprentice

While I work, I’m studying towards my CIMA qualification. That’s obviously something very valuable: being able to join a Chartered Accountancy body held huge appeal for me when I was looking into this apprenticeship.

 

The other huge draw though is being part of a proper working environment at the same time; getting all the experience that comes with it. You have responsibilities; you’re working on things you can be proud of in the real world, and it makes you feel valuable as an apprentice. You know you’re a real part of the team, contributing to something worthwhile. People count on you here, and that feels good.

Finance Apprentice

Before I started working in FCO Services, I was in a completely different industry – I was in hospitality. I’d been the manager of a couple of different restaurants. But I’d always had an interest in electronics, computing, making things. So although everything was going well for me in hospitality, I just really wanted to move into a career I was more interested in.

 

With FCO Services, I found the opportunity to be able to travel the world, whilst at the same time getting to leap into the technical field I wanted to be in. I’d be learning the skills on the job, travelling to different sites, and even back at home in the UK, I’d be getting involved in Research and Development – getting to try new things and get to grips with new technology. It was the best choice for me, really.

Former Apprentice

The experience gives you a good grounding – you get work to get your teeth into and you can work your way up. If you want a change of career, it’s the chance to go back to the drawing board and do something that could really take you to new levels. We’ve had people move from Logistics careers to Technical Engineering, say, so it gives you that chance to explore a new role; to open new doors. It might feel like a step back if you’re changing career, but in reality, it’s a huge step forward and you’ll accelerate quickly.

 

Personally, since my apprenticeship, I’ve been able to move around and take on new roles, all inside the business. You can move through departments and go on to become what you want to be here. You have to work for it, but you can follow your interests and make it what you want. We have such a broad range of roles that if you’ve got the will to do something, it’s there and open for you.

Former Apprentice

I was 38 when I started here, and I really joined the programme as a route into the company and into the IT sector. It was somewhere I could change careers and focus on what I really wanted to do with my life. I’d had several roles previously – manufacturing, quality control, finance, things like that – but I’ve never had an IT role and it’s always been something I wanted.

 

In fact though, immediately before I came to FCO Services I was actually working as a childminder. I’ve got a family of my own and I was doing that while the kids were small. Now that they’re a bit older, this seemed like a great way to start a new career, in a place where I’d have plenty of support, flexibility and people to learn from.

IT Apprentice

I first encountered FCO Services when they came to my school and had a chat with us. It really opened my eyes to the company and exactly what they could offer to someone like me, coming straight out of school into the working world. It’s a big step to go from school to such a vital company and such wide-reaching responsibilities – but it’s also such an incredible opportunity.

 

Right now on my programme, I’m at college, studying qualifications in Technical Engineering. We’re looking at mechanical principles, electronics, electrical installation, computer installations and networking – all the skills we’ll need for the rest of the apprenticeship, and beyond. And once we’re done with the full-time college work, I’m looking forward to what comes next – like the international travel for installation work.

Technical Engineering Apprentice

There’s a potential full-time job here on completion of your apprenticeship.

Every apprentice studies for debt-free paid qualifications, from foundation certificates to degrees and professional qualifications.

All about the programmes

Not sure which area of the business you’d prefer? Want the facts to help you choose the apprenticeship that’s right for you? Below, you can explore the details of our 2019 programmes, but make sure you check back in March 2020 when we’ll have all the details for our 2020 programmes.
  • Level 7 Apprenticeship
  • 2-3 years depending on qualifications and experience
  • Starting salary: £22,164 per year (2019 figure, subject to change)
  • Based in Hanslope Park, Milton Keynes

Who can apply?
See our minimum requirements under What do I need to apply? – but we’d ideally also like you to have either business or accounting experience OR a Level 4 qualification in a related subject.

What will I do?
Through a series of placements in different teams, you’ll learn to audit, provide business advice, drive mergers and acquisitions, and ultimately make sure our organisation’s finances are responsible, ethical and sustainable. Plus, while you’re working, you’ll also be supported to study towards assessments to gain professional Accountancy and Taxation qualifications.

What impact will I have?
You’ll be acting in the public interest. We work with government bodies, so you’ll be helping ensure that we provide the best value and quality for taxpayers as we protect people, information and assets around the world.

What qualifications will I get?
· Accountancy and Taxation Professional Apprenticeship
· Professional Qualification with CIMA (the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants)
· Chartered status with CIMA, when you’ve reached the right level of experience

What will my salary be?
Please note: all salaries accurate for 2019 programme, and may change for the 2020 programme, though this gives an approximate guide.

Your starting salary will be £22,164 plus £1,750 location allowance, with an annual 10% increment subject to satisfactory completion of each year. If you’re offered a permanent position on completion of the apprenticeship programme, the final salary would be in the region of £36,940 plus £1,750 location allowance.

What could I do next?
At the end of your programme, we’ll do our best to find you a permanent position in our Finance team – and you could even apply for membership with UK professional bodies.

Thank-you for your interest in our programmes. We’re currently closed for applications, but will reopen in 2020.

  • Level 2 Apprenticeship
  • 15 months
  • Starting salary: £16,160 per year (2019 figure, subject to change)
  • Based in Hanslope Park, Milton Keynes

Who can apply?
See our minimum requirements under What do I need to apply?

What will I do?
Mentored by a business manager, you’ll get your first taste of Accounting and of the transactions you could get involved in. Working with a range of teams, you’ll get hands-on training in how to set up, send and pay invoices; how to maintain our ledger; how to administer credit cards and expenses across the organisation, and more. And while you work, you’ll study too, with one day a week at college to gain foundation Accounting qualifications that will open up your future.

What impact will I have?
From Accounts Payable to Accounts Receivable, Billing to Expenses, you’ll be making sure our customers receive prompt and accurate invoicing. And since those customers are global government bodies, you’ll be doing work that really counts, for taxpayers everywhere.

What qualifications will I get?
Level 2 Foundation Certificate in Accounting, from AAT (the Associate of Accounting Technicians)

What will my salary be?
Please note: all salaries accurate for 2019 programme, and may change for the 2020 programme, though this gives an approximate guide.

Your starting salary will be £16,160 plus £1,750 location allowance, with an annual 10% increment subject to satisfactory completion of each year. If you’re offered a permanent position on completion of the apprenticeship programme, the final salary would be in the region of £20,200 plus £1,750 location allowance.

What could I do next?
At the end of your programme, we’ll do our best to find you a permanent position – most likely as a Transactional Support Officer in one of the teams you’ve worked with.

Thank-you for your interest in our programmes. We’re currently closed for applications, but will reopen in 2020.

  • Level 3 Apprenticeship
  • 18 months
  • Starting salary: £16,646 per year (2019 figure, subject to change)
  • Based mostly in Hanslope Park, Milton Keynes, with some time in London

Who can apply?
See our minimum requirements under What do I need to apply?

What will I do?
You’ll take on placements in two different areas. The first is our Chief of Staff Office, where you’ll help support our CEO and directors, learning how to do everything from managing the CEO’s correspondence to proposing improvements to office technology, even shadowing the CEO at high-level meetings. Then there’s our Corporate Capability Programme within the Business Development team, where you’ll help engage worldwide teams and stakeholders in improving our services for Diplomats overseas. Whether it’s event health and safety compliance, regional strategy consultations, or working with the Marketing, Customer Experience and Commercial teams, you’ll be learning new skills, gaining a strong sense of our whole organisation, and providing administrative support that makes our teams more efficient than ever before. Plus, at the same time, you’ll be supported by your Talent Coach as you work towards your Business Administration Apprenticeship qualification.

What impact will I have?
With projects happening all over the world, it’s vital that we maintain an efficient business for our customers. Whether you’re supporting our executive team or our Corporate Capability Programme, you’ll be helping ensure a smooth-running operation: a diverse team on a mission to protect people, information and assets everywhere.

What qualifications will I get?
Level 3 Business Administration Apprenticeship

What will my salary be?
Please note: all salaries accurate for 2019 programme, and may change for the 2020 programme, though this gives an approximate guide.

Your starting salary will be £16,646 plus £1,750 location allowance, with an annual 10% increment subject to satisfactory completion of each year. If offered a permanent position on completion of the apprenticeship programme, the final salary would be in the region of £23,780 plus £1,750 location allowance.

What could I do next?
At the end of your programme, we’ll do our best to find you a permanent position – most likely within a team you’ve worked with. That could mean a role in Account Management, Business Analysis, Marketing, Business Planning, or even becoming a Business Administrator in the Chief of Staff Office.

Thank-you for your interest in our programmes. We’re currently closed for applications, but will reopen in 2020.

  • Level 3 Apprenticeship
  • Three years
  • Starting salary: £14,592 per year (2019 figure, subject to change)
  • Based in Hanslope Park, Milton Keynes

Who can apply?
For this programme, as well as British citizenship and a passion for the subject, you’ll need a minimum four GCSEs/O-Levels, or equivalent, at grades 9-5 (A*-C) including Maths, English and either Science or a related technical subject, like Engineering or Product Design.

What will I do?
Over the course of three years, you’ll balance academic study with practical work on a wide range of technology projects. In your first year, you’ll study for technical certificates at college, then during breaks, you’ll take on work with our engineering teams in electronic security. You could be working on CCTV systems or intruder detection, digital radio or counter-eavesdropping systems, and you’ll learn how we design, install and maintain it all for our government-level customers both within the UK and around the world. Then in your second and third year, you’ll take on in-house courses and begin a programme of placements with engineers around the organisation – with a good chance you’ll travel to our sites overseas.

What impact will I have?
Whether it’s preventing intruders to a government building, providing an embassy with backup communications in case of emergencies, or designing CCTV for secure government sites, your work will mean governments can continue to run smoothly around the world, protecting people everywhere.

What qualifications will I get?
· Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) NVQ Level 2
· Installation & Commissioning NVQ Level 3
· BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Engineering

What will my salary be?
Please note: all salaries accurate for 2019 programme, and may change for the 2020 programme, though this gives an approximate guide.

Your starting salary will be £14,592 plus £1,750 location allowance, with an annual 10% increment subject to satisfactory completion of each year. If you’re offered a permanent position on completion of the apprenticeship programme, the final salary would be in the region of £24,320 plus £1,750 location allowance.

What could I do next?
At the end of your programme, we’ll do our best to find you a permanent position, which could be in any number of intriguing areas – including our Technical Services Centre; the National Authority for Counter-Eavesdropping; our Innovation and Design centre; or even working for up to four years overseas as a Secure Technical Services Officer.

Thank-you for your interest in our programmes. We’re currently closed for applications, but will reopen in 2020.

  • Level 3 Apprenticeship
  • 18 months
  • Starting salary: £17,024 per year (2019 figure, subject to change)
  • Based in Hanslope Park, Milton Keynes

Who can apply?
For this programme, as well as having British citizenship and a passion for the subject, you need to be at least 18, with a minimum five GCSEs/O-Levels, or equivalent, at grades 9-5 (A*-C) including Maths and English. Ideally, one of them should also be in Computing or a related subject.

What will I do?
In this fascinating 18-month programme, you’ll help us deliver secure IT and mobile projects worldwide. You’ll learn how we protect against electronic and cyber attacks. How we make sure government-level customers’ data and assets are safe at all times. And you’ll even study towards career-launching IT and Microsoft Technology Associate qualifications while you work.

What impact will I have?
Because of the customers we work with, the data and the assets you’re protecting are of critical importance. The servers you secure might house a nation’s passport applications, its electoral systems, or government communications that can’t be intercepted. You’ll learn how to keep it all safe, working to the highest security classifications – helping people all over the world in the process.

What qualifications will I get?

Infrastructure Technician Level 3 Apprenticeship, including:

  • Microsoft Technology Associate: Networking Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Technology Associate: Mobility and Devices Fundamentals
  • Microsoft Technology Associate: Cloud Fundamentals
  • British Computer Society (The Chartered Institute for IT) Level 3 Award in Business Processes
  • British Computer Society (The Chartered Institute for IT) Level 3 Award in Scripting, Coding and Logic

What will my salary be?
Please note: all salaries accurate for 2019 programme, and may change for the 2020 programme, though this gives an approximate guide.

Your starting salary will be £17,024 plus £1,750 location allowance, with a 10% increment subject to satisfactory completion of the first 12 months. If you’re offered a permanent position on completion of the apprenticeship programme, the final salary would be in the region of £24,320 plus £1,750 location allowance.

What could I do next?
At the end of your programme, you’ve got plenty of options to keep developing your skills. We’ll do our best to find you a permanent position with us – whether it’s in our ICT Service Operations team, supporting global customers’ systems and online services, or in our IT Cyber Security and National Authority for Counter-Eavesdropping (NACE) teams, protecting customers from cyber attacks. And if you want to, there’s space to keep growing too, working towards roles like Technical Architect and Network Engineer.

Thank-you for your interest in our programmes. We’re currently closed for applications, but will reopen in 2020.

  • Level 4 Apprenticeship
  • 24 months
  • Starting salary: £16,646 per year (2019 figure, subject to change)
  • Based in Hanslope Park, Milton Keynes

Who can apply?
For this programme, as well as British Citizenship and a passion for the subject, you’ll need a minimum four GCSEs/O-Levels, or equivalent, at grades 9-5 (A*-C) including Maths and English.

What will I do?
During this 24-month apprenticeship, you’ll build all the skills and knowledge you need to start a unique career in Procurement and Supply, within our Strategic Sourcing team. It’s a role where you’ll help us source the goods and services that will enable projects from construction to digital; logistics to counter-eavesdropping. You could be hunting down quality construction materials. Getting to grips with compliance issues when sourcing electrical materials. Establishing relationships with global secure recycling plants. It’s a richly varied role, with plenty of practical experience – and at the same time, you’ll be putting it all into academic context as you study for your diploma in Procurement and Supply.

What impact will I have?
We work on projects that protect the UK’s interests around the world. We build, renovate and repair embassies. We make governments safe from cyber attack. Whatever we do, it has to be done to the highest possible standards of quality and safety. And doing that means providing our own teams with the best possible materials and services to do their job. That’s where you’ll come in, and the skills you learn will help us all provide the best possible service.

What qualifications will I get?
Level 4 Diploma in Procurement and Supply

What will my salary be?
Please note: all salaries accurate for 2019 programme, and may change for the 2020 programme, though this gives an approximate guide.

Your starting salary will be £16,646 plus £1,750 location allowance, with an annual 10% increment subject to satisfactory completion of each year. If you’re offered a permanent position on completion of the apprenticeship programme, the final salary would be in the region of £23,780 plus £1,750 location allowance.

What could I do next?

At the end of your programme, we’ll do our best to help you find a permanent position with us, for example as an Assistant Category Manager within our Strategic Sourcing team, which includes both Procurement and Supply, and specialises in everything from Category Management to Procurement Policy; Supplier Contract Management to Procurement Administration. From there, you’ll have plenty of room to grow and keep stretching your skills, finding your niche among our vast range of projects and sectors.

Thank-you for your interest in our programmes. We’re currently closed for applications, but will reopen in 2020.

  • Level 2 Apprenticeship
  • 15 months
  • Starting salary: £16,160 per year (2019 figure, subject to change)
  • Based in Hanslope Park, Milton Keynes

Who can apply?
See our minimum requirements under What do I need to apply?

What will I do?
Welcome to 15 months packed with experience. You’ll be learning how to take deliveries, check for damaged and missing items, store goods, pick and pack orders for shipment round the world, load goods for dispatch, and maintain stock records. As the apprenticeship scheme progresses you’ll learn logistics planning skills and even have the opportunity for some travel abroad to deliver logistics solutions. Plus, you’ll learn to operate the machinery and vehicles that enable the warehouse team to deal with deliveries of all shapes and sizes. It’s a lot of hands-on experience – but you’ll have plenty of training too, with structured learning modules throughout your apprenticeship. Then, with all that experience under your belt, you’ll then gain your final qualification in logistics.

What impact will I have?
Our business provides secure services to government-level customers all over the world. All that work has to be delivered to strict deadlines: if construction materials don’t arrive at an embassy on time, for instance, then the joinery team waiting there won’t be able to get started, and it could disrupt work within the building. Everything has to arrive in perfect condition and to a tight schedule – and the warehouse team, with your help, are the ones who’ll ensure that happens.

What qualifications will I get?
Level 2 Logistics Apprenticeship

What will my salary be?
Please note: all salaries accurate for 2019 programme, and may change for the 2020 programme, though this gives an approximate guide.

Your starting salary will be £16,160 plus £1,750 location allowance, with an annual 10% increment subject to satisfactory completion of each year. If you’re offered a permanent position on completion of the apprenticeship programme, the final salary would be in the region of £20,200 plus £1,750 location allowance.

What could I do next?

At the end of your programme, we’ll do our best to help you find a permanent position with us, within the Logistics team in Secure Global Services. There, you’ll be able to find your niche across our skillsets, and look to what you could achieve next.

Thank-you for your interest in our programmes. We’re currently closed for applications, but will reopen in 2020.

You might or might not be thinking about this right now, but you’ll have a generous Civil Service pension, helping you plan your life out.

Some apprentices will get the chance to travel overseas – and if you’re interested, you can also pursue overseas positions after you finish your programme. Find out more

What do I need to apply?

1
2
3
4
5
UK National status

You’re free to remain and work in the UK

Long-term UK residency – part 1

For apprenticeships there are two residency criteria you must meet. Firstly, to satisfy government scheme access rules you must have been resident in the UK for the past three years at the start of the apprenticeship (usually the September of the year you’re applying

 

 

Long-term UK residency – part 2

For security vetting purposes you also need to meet the relevant residency requirements for the security vetting level of the role – either Security Check (SC) or Developed Vetting (DV) – depending on the role. Find out more about vetting on our How to apply page or on Gov.uk 

The right qualifications

We’ll specify more for some programmes, but most need a minimum of two GCSEs/O-Levels, or another equivalent, at grades 9-5 (A*- C) in Maths and English

Genuine interest

You don’t usually need relevant previous work experience, but we’ll want to see your interest in the business area

Benefits

Competitive salary

Debt-free paid qualifications

In-house training facilities

Possibility of global travel


stack of coins on blue background with teh word Pension on

Civil Service pension


Potential full-time job on completion

Hear from a former apprentice

The people are so important to your experience here, honestly. I travel a lot with my role, but if I was to think of my favourite places, it’s just as much about the people I’ve been with as the places themselves.

Current Technical Installer

Case studies

Want to learn more about the work we do? Have a look at our case studies and explore the impact of our projects – and the diverse skills that come together to make it all happen.

Tips for your application

1. Tell us about your passion for the area

Most of our programmes don’t ask for prior work experience, but we want people who’ll be keen to learn. What interests you about the field you’re applying to?

2. Be yourself

We’re not expecting experts or a particular kind of candidate. Be honest, be your whole self, and tell us what you’re good at and why you want to work at FCO Services.

3. Get someone to check your application

Even if you think what you’ve written is perfect, a fresh pair of eyes – be it a friend or a family member – will always help you spot the mistakes you might have missed.

4. Remember you’re welcome here.

As long as you meet the basic eligibility criteria – see What do I need to apply? – then these programmes are open to you, no matter your age or background.

Did you know?

This year, our Logistics team helped return the bell of the SS Mendi to South Africa.
The bell is a relic of one of the 20th Century’s worst maritime disasters, as well as being a historic symbol of race relations in South Africa. Its return was marked by a handover with the South African President and British Prime Minister.

Welcome to the virtual embassy

Ready to see the work you might do as an apprentice? If you’re interested in Technical Engineering or Logistics, you follow a guide through our embassy to see what you could do. For other areas, there won’t be a relevant guide, but you can take a look through the eyes of some of our other teams.

Latest roles

Want to join FCO Services but can’t see a live role to suit you? Great news: you can sign up for job alerts or add your CV to our talent pool and we’ll be in touch when something comes up.

Health, Safety and Environmental Advisor

London KCS
£28,948 – £32,000

Warehouse Operative

Hanslope Park
£20,200 + £1,750 Location Allowance and excellent benefits

Engineer End User Computing

Hanslope Park
£31,018 – £38,000 plus £1750 location allowance

Deputy Chief Information Security Officer

Hanslope Park
£51,500- £65,000