I first heard about the Fast Stream through word of mouth, mostly at university but also amongst friends who were looking at graduate schemes and other programmes for after their studies. After taking a look on the Fast Stream website, I was impressed not only by the range of opportunities on offer in each stream, but also the solid commitment to your learning and development, including the possibility of taking a professional qualification. Further research confirmed that the Fast Stream was one of the best schemes available to those who are serious about their career progression. Having always wanted to work in the public sector, it wasn’t a difficult decision to go and apply!
Although the online tests weren’t easy, they set a standard for the challenges you’ll be expected to take on in the Fast Stream. The e-Tray exercise, in particular, gives you a flavour of the type of work you could be doing. The video interview was more difficult, but the questions were engaging, and successfully conveyed the diverse and positive work culture of the Civil Service.
I was actually already working as a Civil Servant at HMRC when I heard that I had made it to the Assessment Centre, and the support and encouragement from my team was fantastic. In fact, as I wasn’t the only person to have applied for the Fast Stream and been invited to the Assessment Centre, there was a great atmosphere in the office.
I attended the Assessment Centre in Newcastle, at a site easily accessible from the city centre. Overall it was very well organised, with modern facilities including lockers and a bright and open reception room. Refreshments were provided and the coordinators were very friendly and helpful. With three types of assessment in just half a day, the Assessment Centre is fast-paced, however you leave with a real sense of achievement – kind of like you’ve just completed an intense brain workout!
Some weeks later, I found out that I had been successful, and I am now due to start on the Finance Fast Stream within the Foreign & Commonwealth Office next week. In the run up to starting in my new department, I met with my Activity Manager for a coffee and introduction to my new role. Again, I was thoroughly impressed by the commitment towards your professional development and the exciting opportunities that are on offer.
This week I have spent three days at the Fast Stream Induction event at Heathrow, London. It was a great chance to meet and socialise with fellow Fast Streamers, including others in your department and on other streams. Like the Assessment Centre, the event is very well organised, and facilities (and the food!) were excellent. There are plenty of workshops, group exercises and interesting speakers, as well as a discussion with Cohort Leaders and an introduction to the Fund, your corporate objective. The idea is that you will gain a solid understanding of how different parts of government work, what it is to be a good leader and what will be expected of you on the Fast Stream.
Overall then, it’s been an exciting and busy few months, and I now can’t wait to start as a Fast Streamer next week!