The Civil Service Fast Stream is not your usual career path, and certainly not one I planned as an Aston student finishing off my placement with Deutsche Bank and completing a degree in International Business and Economics. I envisaged a role in Finance or Consultancy (thinking really outside of the box) and although I had a passing interest in politics, moving into the public sector was not on my radar. For those not too familiar with how Government operates, the Civil Service is an A-political organisation that supports the elected Government of the day, and staffs departments such as the Treasury, the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence. These departments work with Government Ministers to design and implement policy that impact on normal people.
In my 13 months I’ve worked on the economic analysis of HS2 at the Department for Transport, negotiated with Treasury on funding deals for the NHS at the Department of Health and am now on secondment to the Independent Police Complaints Commission. I’ve had friends work on the renewal of nuclear submarines, legal aid policy and another former Astoner is currently co-ordinating British aid efforts in central Africa (so some pretty serious stuff!).
The Civil Service is placing huge amounts of resource in to increasing diversity within its ranks, and that includes broadening the number of entry points on to the programme to include apprenticeships, and a greater focus on professions such as Communications, Finance and the Government Economics Service. There is loads more information on every scheme at www.faststream.gov.uk.
The application process has been streamlined to make it slightly more transparent and less tilted towards Oxbridge applicants. The initial application is now a simple registration, followed by an e-tray, video interview and an Assessment Centre that challenges you to think analytically, demonstrate leadership and work well with others.
I can only speak for my own experience but I have found the Civil Service to be an incredibly warm and interesting place to work. When the decisions you make have the potential to impact on so many people that is a really great privilege, and one that isn’t available on many Grad schemes. My only advice for successfully completing the process is to be yourself, get to know the Civil Service Competency Framework and take the plunge and apply.
The deadline for applications is the 30th November, and if you have any questions do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org