I was studying Maths at the University of Surrey and I'd no idea what I was going to do. I loved the module on Operational Research (OR) on my course – OR is all about solving problems and using analytical techniques. Finding jobs that use OR led me to the Government Operational Research Service (GORS). But I was still in my second year, so I carried on with my studies and kept an eye on GORS activities.
In my final year, I was at my university’s careers fair and I recognised the GORS Fast Stream. This was the opportunity to do the job I really wanted to do and get the extra support I needed to help me progress in the civil service effectively. I was very excited, and none of the other jobs I applied for held as much of a draw as this one.
My first role has been in the Youth Justice Analysis team in the Ministry of Justice. Once I was in the Civil Service, I could see exactly how many opportunities there were to use analysis to help. In the Youth Justice Analysis team, I’ve created tools to help consultants have access to data and graphs that may be useful for their work. I worked on a large project that helps identify where to best target interventions to be of the greatest impact. I’ve modelled scenarios and advised policy makers which of them are feasible and which aren’t. I’ve also helped draft statements for the Secretary of State, answers to questions from MPs and press statements.
On the Fast Stream there are training opportunities you just don’t get elsewhere. My favourite is the 'Understanding Government' course which I did when I joined. I didn’t know much about government or politics. The course was very informative and I could relate it back to my own job, as well as giving me the chance to visit the Houses of Parliament. I even got to meet and chat with a top Member of Parliament.
The main reason I'd encourage people to apply for the Fast Stream is that you're involved in something that's really important and exciting. It impacts people every day. Working through the May 2015 election really emphasised this for me. We were in the centre of it all – working with people who’ve experienced previous elections, who’ve worked with ministers before.
It’s exciting and you know that what you’re working on makes a difference and helps people across the country.