Education. Health. Employment. Defence. Transport. Climate change. International development.These are just some of the areas where graduates on the Civil Service Fast Stream get to put their ideas into practice, as they work on issues that affect the entire country and beyond. The Fast Stream is an accelerated training and development graduate programme aimed at people who have the potential to become the future leaders of the Civil Service. It is ranked among the top five Times ‘Top 100 Graduate Employers’.
One reason for the programme’s popularity is that it enables graduates to bring innovative solutions to some of the biggest issues facing society today. Whether in employment or education, the environment or the economy, Fast Streamers can have a real impact on life in the UK and beyond. During their time on the programme, graduates move regularly between projects to gain a wide range of experiences and skills. They are given considerable early responsibility, and should find themselves being stretched and challenged on a daily basis. At the same time, they are exposed to three distinct but complementary professional areas: policy delivery, operational delivery and corporate services. Exposure to these three areas will provide you with a solid foundation of your career, and will give you the skills and experience you need to deliver effective public services at more senior levels. As part of their development, they will also enjoy a mixture of on-the-job training and formal courses, as well as receiving ongoing feedback on their performance.
There are Fast Stream opportunities in every major government department, as well as in Science and Engineering, the Diplomatic Service, the Houses of Parliament and Europe. There are also specialist schemes available for economists and statisticians, and in the areas of human resources and technology in business. While many roles are in London, equally challenging opportunities are increasingly available in other parts of the country and offer a unique perspective that London-based Fast Streamers do not see. Even those in London are expected to be mobile and work wherever their departments need them.
So what qualities are needed to make it to the top? Lucidity, confidence, innovation, articulacy and decisiveness are all important, as is an analytical and open-minded approach. Above all, Fast Streamers need to be the kind of people who can develop relationships and deliver results, and who are excited by the idea of making a positive and highly visible impact across many different areas of society.
Starting salaries usually range between around £25, 000 and £27,000. Pay increases are based purely on performance. On promotion – which currently takes on average around four to five years - you may earn over £45,000.
There's a pension scheme, of course. And you’ll receive around 25 days’ holiday per year plus 10.5 days’ public and privilege holidays.
A good work-life balance is another potential benefit. Some departments offer flexible and part-time working arrangements, as well as crèches, holiday play schemes and childcare assistance.
Other benefits may include season ticket loans and sports and social facilities. Your specific package will depend on which department you join.
There is no such thing as a typical Fast Streamer. Successful candidates come from a diverse range of backgrounds, and may have any kind of degree. There are, however, some key competencies that we look for in all our Fast Streamers:
- You’ll have to take the lead on decision-making based on evidence, and handle the pressure and responsibility that comes with it. This means being proactive and thinking on your feet. Sitting on the fence is not an option.
- You’ll be working with some of the brightest and most talented people in the country. It’s important that you all get the best out of each other, building trust, developing relationships and respecting each person’s perspective.
- The ability to make an impact is essential. We look for people who are lucid, persuasive, confident and articulate. Whether it’s a high-level meeting, a large presentation or a conversation with a disgruntled customer, you must be able to express yourself and defend your position clearly and succinctly.
- Being able to think flexibly, innovatively and resourcefully is also important, particularly as you may be asked to consider doing something new, or to investigate how things can be done more efficiently and cost-effectively.
- Not everything you do will be headline news: it’s important to focus as much on the smaller details as on the big-picture issues.
And we want you to get the most out of all the Fast Stream offers you. That’s why you must have a good level of self-awareness and be able to recognise your own personal and professional development needs. You’ll be expected to learn a huge amount during your time in the Fast Stream. So it’s important to know when additional support and development are needed, and how to make the most of the opportunities you have.
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