Working in the civil service with GCSEs (or similar)

Many jobs in this area are in administration or customer services, dealing with the general public either face to face or in a call centre.

Other jobs are IT-based or practical and some are outdoors. For example, you could work with homeless people in a hostel, with visitors to a library or museum, or be assessing benefits. You could start with an apprenticeship; these are most commonly available in customer service and business administration.

Case study

I would like to stay with the council. It’s a place where I feel I can build a career...

Katy Lisova, senior administration officer at a borough council

Example jobs

Admin assistant
Keeping records (IT and paper-based) for a department.

Library assistant
Checking books and other media in and out, reshelving items, helping customers.

Local authority enquiry point adviser
Dealing with enquiries from the public, directing them elsewhere when necessary.

Benefits helpline assistant
Receiving calls from the public, assessing benefit claims.

Approximate pay levels

Figures supplied as a guide only

Salaries will be higher in London and the South East.

Pay levels graph

Typical working conditions

Working conditions vary widely, according to the job role. Many jobs are office-based, some involve contact with the public (by phone or face to face) and some involve standing or being outdoors.

Qualifications needed

For most jobs, you need a good level of English and maths (sometimes GCSE grades A–C). You will also need good communication skills (writing and speaking) and be able to work in a team, as well as being able to use your initiative.

Career path

Most local authorities and government departments offer promotion routes. You can become more senior in the job you are doing, which will usually mean higher pay. Or you can apply for a more senior post with more responsibility. Employers offer training and may give you study time.

Useful links

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Local government jobs

Working for the Civil Service

The National Apprenticeship Service

NAS - Information and advice about becoming an apprentice