Policy Officer - Higher Apprenticeship – CertHE (Cert)

University of Kent the United Kingdom

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How long you will study
24 Months

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About Policy Officer - Higher Apprenticeship – CertHE at University of Kent

The HE Certificate in Policy Studies aims to produce policy officers equipped with the skills to play an enhanced role within central and local government or within private and third sector organisations that interact and strive to influence government policy. It has been developed with, and for employers and is delivered as a blended course. Most material is in the form of directed self-learning via the university’s e-learning platform, Moodle, on- and off-site academic support, and face to face block teaching throughout the length of apprenticeship.  The University of Kent is at the forefront of providing higher and degree apprenticeships. Our expertise in e-learning delivery, together with flexible entry points, means that the programme can be delivered with the least disruption to the business.

The emphasis of the programme is to link the knowledge and learning to work-based learning and employment wherever possible.

Teaching and learning are delivered using a blended learning approach, primarily through the extensive use of e-learning materials, which include: videoed lectures; links to related reading; individual guided study; activities with feedback provided; and discussion forums.

Whilst most material is in the form of e-learning, apprentices have regular contact online and face-to-face with the lecturers through bimonthly review meetings, webinars; and Saturday intensives.

This Certificate of Higher Education is defined by the integration of employer involvement and having work-based learning at the core of the programme. A supervisor in the workplace provides on-job training and support for the apprentice. This allows the opportunity for apprentices to apply their knowledge and understanding in a work context.

Progress and attainment of learning outcomes are determined by a variety of methods of assessment including: portfolios; oral presentations; and short written assignments.

Knowledge and understanding

History of the policy area; policy aims, challenges and issues; how to engage relevant organisations; political context; relevant policy tests; legal implications; international aspects as applicable; consideration of sustainable development duties.

Organisational structure; strategy; purpose; activities; aims; values; visions; structures; how to support and achieve these through own role

Political Environment: Government and Parliament - history, structure, relationship and responsibilities; electoral systems and processes; the British constitution and legislative processes; parliamentary committees; local government; public sector bodies; groups and movements influencing policy

Contextual Factors: Economic; social; technological; legal and environmental factors and the subsequent impact of these on policy; internal and external barriers that exist and how to overcome them

Programme and Project Management: Basic concepts, language and principles; importance of effective project management including delivering to plan, on time and in budget; advantages and disadvantages of different planning methods; importance of identifying risks and issues upfront; importance of continuously reviewing and updating plans

Commercial Awareness: The steps involved in making commercial decisions; organisational procurement processes; the requirement to achieve value for money; how to achieve best value; engaging customers and suppliers; elements of risk; financial and reputational implications

Consultation Process: Purpose of consultation; the importance of taking into account stakeholder and public views; engagement with local communities; consultation planning; timescales and deadlines; sample size and quality; advantages and disadvantages of different consultation methods; legal requirements

Policy Delivery: Policy aims and intended outcomes; what successful implementation looks like; basic delivery systems available; the delivery environment including other organisations involved; user-centred design; reputational risks and public perception; how to measure success of the policy

Intellectual Skills

Evaluation: Use research and trials to inform policy; consider evaluations of previous policies; read graphs and tables; understand simple descriptive statistics; consider advantages and disadvantages of evaluation methods including validity and reliability

Presentation Skills: Select and present information in a clear and effective manner; present information according to the audience; use correct grammar and punctuation; structure work in a logical order; write accurately, briefly and clearly; speak confidently and coherently; plan for and be able to answer questions

Communicating with Influence: Communicate confidently; be personable; ask insightful questions; recognise levels of authority; be able to influence others; be able to negotiate effectively and respectfully; confidently represent your organisation; recognise importance of objectivity and impartiality in policy-making

Time Management: Identify risks and issues; monitor progress of actions; demonstrate effective use of resources; manage conflicting priorities and pressures; work to agreed deadlines and timescales; dedicate time to specific activities

Subject-specific skills

Evidence Gathering: Apply analytical techniques; make use of analytical support and key statistics related to policy area; work with experts outside of policy; apply the basics of economic appraisal; handle sensitive information securely

Evidence-based problem solving: Define the policy problem; demonstrate hypothesis-based thinking; seek advice from relevant experts; make decisions based on sound reasoning and evidence previously gathered; know when to escalate issues

Big Picture Thinking: Takes an active interest in understanding organisational priorities and strategy; looks beyond the immediate role; keeps abreast of wider issues which may impact on policy area; keeps a clear focus on the overall policy aim.

Transferable skills

Continuous Learning and Agility: Takes responsibility for self-development; reflects on lessons learned and feedback to improve performance; champions continuous improvement; seeks out opportunities to improve ways of working; looks to create effective change

Looking to the future: Is mindful of future trends and influences; considers potential risks  and opportunities and adapts working style accordingly; anticipates how the future can support actions in the present; considers multiple possible outcomes

Working Collaboratively: Shows consideration for others; seeks to develop trusting and effective relationships; shares knowledge; encourages collaboration; is a team player; promotes diversity; listens to others; appreciates different perspectives and respects alternative opinions

Resilience: Is proactive; has a ‘can do’ attitude; is open to receiving feedback from others; is tenacious and remains motivated under pressure; deals positively with setbacks

Self-Awareness: Reflects on own performance and feedback from others; is mindful of the impact of own actions on others; adapts style to suit circumstances; understands limitations of own knowledge and uses networks to inform own work

This apprenticeship has been designed to develop policy officers’ knowledge and
understanding of government and how their role fits into the bigger picture of shaping the
policies which affect and impact the general public. 

Study options for this course

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Entry requirements

Contact University of Kent to find course entry requirements.

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