Many people think the Diplomatic Stream is the only opportunity for Fast Streamers to be involved in exciting internationally focused roles. In fact, lots of departments across the Civil Service have international teams and the challenges of the 21st century – from countering terrorism to protecting our borders or from global trade to improving cyber security - mean Civil Servants have to grapple with international issues every day.
The Home Office is a prime example. Traditionally the perception has been that the Foreign Office deals with overseas issues and the Home Office deals with internal affairs such as crime, immigration or security. Those days are gone. The vast majority of the Home Office’s work – be it designing our borders of the future or keeping Britain’s streets safe – mean the department needs to think internationally.
Fast Streamers have an important role to play in meeting that challenge.
In the Home Office’s International Strategy and Engagement Unit, Generalist Fast Streamers help shape and deliver the department’s engagement with partners across the world, from the US to China, as well as working closely with multilateral bodies such as the United Nations or the G7.
And in such a fast paced environment one thing is certain - no two days are the same! Never mind two six month postings!
Recent post holders have included Gemma Kane and Adam Luke - both Year one Generalists without any previous experience of international work. Over six months of working directly to the Head of International Engagement, both have developed valuable international experience to take forward into their careers.
In Gemma’s posting this came through supporting the department’s engagement with the G7’s Roma Lyon Group and the Five Country Conference – working closely with representatives of the American, Canadian, Australian and New Zealand governments on priority issues including migration. Aside from being part of the UK delegation at international events in Rome and Los Angeles, her day to day work included coordinating briefing papers for the head of the UK delegation and helping to streamline the department’s approach to this important international forum to better deliver for the UK and its citizens.
For Adam the focus of his posting was progressing work to determine the department’s future international strategy consulting across the department and with embassies around the world to determine the Home Office’s priority countries now and how these will change in the future. As part of the International Strategy Team he also helped coordinate ministerial international engagement, was involved with incoming delegations - from US Congressmen to an Iraqi Minister - and worked closely with the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence developing processes to get the most out of these visits.
Working in the international arena is not only a very rewarding experience but allows fast streamers to develop a unique skill set that’s very sought after across the Civil Service.
Aside from obvious skills such as stakeholder engagement or negotiation, it’s an excellent opportunity to improve advising, drafting and briefing skills and it certainly improves your geography!