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Assistant Category Officer - Infrastructure (Apprenticeship)

Posted: 11 Sep 2019 Closes: 26 Sep 2019
Exeter £21,555 - £26,320
Apprenticeship defra/20190911152351

This is a development opportunity for an individual with an interest in starting a career in business to undertake a two year Level 4 apprenticeship in Commercial Procurement and Supply. This will cover elements of business, economics and cost management and will give you the skills and practical experiences needed to obtain a L4 Diploma in Procurement & Supply with the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS).

You will be working in Defra Group Commercial (DgC) which is part of Defra, the central Government Department responsible for growing the rural economy; improving the environment; and safeguarding animal and plant health. DgC is responsible for providing a procurement and commercial service to organisations within the Defra Network such as Animal and Plant Health Agency, Rural Payments Agency, Natural England and the Environment Agency.

This is an exciting time to join Defra Group Commercial (DgC) as the Commercial Team is transforming. They play a vital role in enabling Defra group’s vision of ‘creating a great place for living’. Defra is also one of the lead Departments in delivering a successful exit from the EU.

This job sits in the Infrastructure category. This team provides commercial and procurement support and advice on construction and civil engineering works for new build (capital) and repair and maintenance (revenue). It also includes infrastructure related professional services (e.g. engineering design), mechanical and electrical engineering and other specialist services (such as land and soil management). This category works primarily with the Environment Agency.

You will be joining some of the most experienced individuals within commercial as we strive to deliver commercial excellence across the category via a set of new and innovative commercial arrangements.

You will be working in a team that works on some of the largest and most complex spends within DgC. The Infrastructure category provides commercial and procurement support in delivery of both high value projects and complex programmes of work.


This Level 4 Apprenticeship will hold the position of Assistant Category Officer and will report to a Senior Category Officer (SEO).

You will work in a busy office environment and will be

• Supporting delivery of projects by providing commercial and procurement support to project managers.
• Tendering, awarding and monitoring low value, low risk contracts supporting construction project delivery.
• Explaining commercial guidance and providing commercial advice to support a range of internal customers
• Keeping up to date on changing legislation / best practice internally
• Supporting and maintaining effective customer and supplier relationships Support senior team members to deliver quality results on time
• Managing own time and resources
• Using electronic sourcing and contract management systems.
• Supporting senior team members in general business administration and systems support (e.g. organising travel and meeting arrangements, taking minutes, etc)
• Providing administrative support to the team, ensuring efficient systems are in place to maximise the effective use of the team’s time.

We are looking for someone with a keen interest in business and who is highly analytical. Experience of being able to interpret, analyse and present data is important.

You should be self-motivated and highly organised and have confidence talking to people face to face and on the phone. You will enjoy building a positive team spirit and supporting your team, but you will also be working with different organisations within Defra so being able to build and maintain good relationships and networks is important.

As you develop into the role we will also want you to be able to challenge and influence across complex and varied internal customer groups and to enjoy coming up with innovative solutions to address business problems

NB. Previous work experience is not essential as the apprenticeship will provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to be fully competent in this role.


Five GCSEs (including English and Maths) at Grade 5/C or above (or equivalent)

Further education qualifications and / or training is desirable (see attached candidate pack).


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Working Together
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Making Effective Decisions



• Learning and development tailored to your role
• An environment with flexible working options
• A culture encouraging inclusion and diversity
• A Civil Service pension

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours and Experience.

In order to be invited to interview your application will be assessed as follows:

All applicants will be assessed against the behaviours listed.

Candidates who successfully pass this part of the assessment process will be shortlisted for interview.

Interviews will primarily assess candidates against behaviours listed.

Interviews will last for up to one hour and dates and locations are to be confirmed.

Should a large number of applications be received, an initial sift may be conducted using the lead behaviour, Working Together. Candidates who pass the initial sift may be progressed to a full sift, or progressed straight to assessment/interview.

As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a personal statement. Further details around what this will entail are listed on the application form.

Reasonable adjustment
If a person with disabilities is put at a substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person, we have a duty to make reasonable changes to our processes.

If you need a change to be made so that you can make your application, you should:

Contact Government Recruitment Service via as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need further on in the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional.

If successful and transferring from another Government Department a criminal record check maybe carried out.

New entrants are expected to join on the minimum of the pay band.

In order to process applications without delay, we will be sending a Criminal Record Check to Disclosure and Barring Service on your behalf. However, we recognise in exceptional circumstance some candidates will want to send their completed forms direct. If you will be doing this, please advise Government Recruitment Service of your intention by emailing stating the job reference number in the subject heading.

Any move to Defra will mean you will no longer be able to carry on claiming childcare vouchers.

If you feel your application has not been treated in accordance with the Recruitment Principles and you wish to make a complaint, in the first instance, you should contact Government Recruitment Services via email:

If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from the Department, you can
contact the Civil Service Commission: Click here to visit Civil Service Commission

Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.

The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs

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