Software Developer Apprenticeship

Grade: Apprentice

Reference: 124631

Location: Bristol, Reading Warrington or York

Salary: £22,426

Closing Date: 28 Jun 2021

Defra is the UK government department responsible for safeguarding our natural environment, supporting our world-leading food and farming industry, and sustaining a thriving rural economy. Our broad remit means we play a major role in people’s day-to-day life, from the food we eat, and the air we breathe, to the water we drink.

We are currently going through a radical digital transformation and we are still looking to grow our software development team. You will be working on several meaningful projects in a challenging environment.

If you work with us, you’ll be making a real difference.

Job description

Our software development function sits within our Digital Hubs across the country including Bristol, Reading, Warrington and York. We recognise the value of a good work/life balance and offer a range of flexible working options including remote working.

We design, build and operate services that are critical in helping the department achieve its mission. You could be designing and building solutions to help people apply for a fishing license or be working on the critical IT systems that support UK homes and businesses from Flooding. Our success in this role depends on our ability to exploit the latest technologies to create leading-edge, world class solutions whilst ensuring they are secure and resilient.

This is an exciting time to work for Defra as we develop some of the most challenging and transformative technology projects the department has ever seen. You’ll have a chance to shape the future and support our goal to provide exceptional services for everyone.

Our work is guided by these fundamental principles:

• put user needs first

• delivery and outcomes over process

• make the most of openness: open standards, open source, open data and open markets.

We value everyone’s skills and provide a creative and supportive environment to help you do your best work.

The training

If successful you will attend a 12-week software developer training course with our apprenticeship training provider, Makers Academy. Training is delivered remotely, from September 27th. Following this you will take up a software developer post with Defra, joining one of our 4 hubs.

The initial training course will provide you with the learning and tools you need to contribute more effectively when you hit the workplace for the following nine months of ‘on the job’ training. When on the job you will be building your experience, working with colleagues designing and building products that will contribute to people, communities and the natural environment.

You will build up a portfolio of your work, take a knowledge module exam and an internationally recognised vendor qualification. This will prepare you for the end point assessment to gain a level 4 software developer qualification and be able to apply for posts as a junior developer on successful completion.

This is an intensive and accelerated development programme, designed to prepare you for the gateway for your apprenticeship assessment in a year – around half the time of most other software developer apprenticeship schemes. In return you’ll need to be able to fully commit to a demanding schedule of learning to achieve your change of career.


As an apprentice Software Developer you will be paired with engineering colleagues to learn on the job whilst designing, running and improving software components. You can expect to benefit from training, coaching and mentoring to help you develop in this role. You will be learning to work to our technical standards writing clean and secure code. Alongside this you will be mentored to help develop a rounded set of skills and supporting knowledge:

• Working in a test driven manner; testing, correcting and documenting simple programs or scripts.

• Building your knowledge of different systems and software implementation.

• Providing crucial service support to users with difficulties or issues.

You will be someone who:

• Is highly driven to build a career as a software developer, or similar technical role.

• Takes initiative, enjoys solving problems, is innovative and seeks out opportunities to create effective change.

• Shows an interest in analysis to ensure user needs are based on evidence.

• Has good communications skills and is able to build solid relationships with peers and users.

You will have the following skills and experience:

There are no skills or experience requirements for this role we will assess your technical aptitude by taking you through some learning and technical challenges. If you believe you can show the enthusiasm and aptitude to become a software developer, deconstructing problems, recognising patterns, caring about the detail and having the ability to use hypothesis-driven thinking to solve complex problems, then please consider applying.

Who you’ll work with:

• Engineering colleagues who will oversee your work and coach and mentor you;

• Infrastructure Engineers, Technical Architects and Security Architects to design, build and deliver software solutions.

• The wider software engineering community, to understand your place in the organisation and begin mapping out your future development.

The application process

If you’re interested in moving your civil service career into the digital, data and technology profession and becoming a software developer, first register your interest by June 28th.

Makers Academy selection process

You then work through an intensive, but largely self-selecting application process run by Makers Academy. This process is designed to enable you to try coding and to help you understand if you are suitable for the apprenticeship. It is largely self-selecting as you commit to undertaking the learning and practical exercises required, within the timeline stipulated.

You first complete a questionnaire about your reasons for wanting to undertake the apprenticeship and start a career as a software developer. You will then be invited to undertake self-led learning which will take around an hour a day or you can complete in one or more sessions within two weeks of registering with Makers. You will be sent instructions on how to do this and do not need to have any previous experience of coding.

This will prepare you for a coding challenge. If you work your way through these stages there will then be a telephone interview.

Defra final selection

The tasks you complete will form part of the Ability and Technical elements of Success Profiles and will inform the interview approach for your final selection with Defra. At the interview we will also assess you for Strengths and the following Civil Service Success Profiles Behaviours: Communicating and Influencing and Working Together.

For full details of the application process and Success Profiles used, please click the link to apply.

If you are successful you can take up your new apprenticeship post in September 2021, starting with your 3 months Makers Academy training programme.

A timeline of the application process is below.

• By clicking the Apply Now button on this Defra Jobs advert, you will be directed you to the Makers Academy Defra application site, where you will register and complete a series of tasks:

• Complete a questionnaire about your interest in the apprenticeship and role.

• Complete a coding course – you will be given a maximum 2 weeks to do this.

• Complete a coding challenge in 5 days.

• Complete a telephone interview.

• Undertaking final selection with Defra between 15th – 21st July 2021

• Offers will be made by the end of July 2021