The Civil Service is a fantastic organisation that probably covers more work strands than any other establishment in the UK. I’ve experienced this first hand having been a Summer Diversity (SDIP) Intern and now being a Fast Streamer. Whether you’re looking to work in defence, employee policy, human rights or environmental regulations, the Civil Service, and particularly the Fast Stream offers a vast amounts of variety across several fields.
My first experience with the Civil Service was as a curious and perhaps overly enthusiastic intern at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in the summer of 2015. I was based in the International relations department which focused on matters such as rule of law in the wider world and ministerial visits. From the outset I was given challenging work and treated as an established civil servant. I was asked to research and present the progression of certain countries’ legal systems, assist in organising the Opening of the Legal Year and contribute to a ministerial briefing pack. If someone had asked me what I expected to be doing, I would not even have dreamt of the above!
In addition to my work strands, the SDIP team also organised a fantastic and diverse array of events which included a Q and A session with the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, a Ministry of Defence crisis management workshop and a tour of the Houses of Parliament. What’s more, I was provided with a living allowance that made sure I could afford accommodation and travel costs to these events. I walked away after 10 weeks feeling extremely privileged to have been given this opportunity. Then came the Fast Stream.
Like the next person, I looked at the Fast Stream selection process and all the daunting articles online about the acceptance rate and thought “Forget that, I’m never going to make it”. After much pondering, I decided to give it a go and just see how it went... and I don’t regret that decision! If you are reading this (it’s not too late), you are probably thinking of applying to either the SDIP or the Fast Stream. Make sure that you do! I’m currently 6 weeks into my first placement on the HR Fast Steam, and I am so glad I applied.
The Fast Stream is an absolutely remarkable accelerated development scheme that looks to transform individuals into future leaders within 4 (or 3 years depending on the scheme). You will get the opportunity to work in different departments, in different locations and on vastly different areas. You will be given real, tangible responsibility and provided with a learning and development programme that lets you really thrive as individual and make the most out of your opportunities. Some will get to work with ministers, some for ministers, and some on the front line engaging with the general public.
Whether you have a passion for project delivery, finance, statistics or social research, the Fast Stream has something for you. If you’re unsure about applying, just go for it. You never know what might come from it.