https://faststream.blog.gov.uk/2019/09/18/no-limit-to-what-i-can-learn-or-how-far-i-can-go/

No limit to what I can learn or how far I can go

blog post author standing on a boat, facing the camera, a lake and mountains in the background

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself!

A: So, I’m now in my early thirties. I’m not quite sure how that’s happened so quickly, I graduated over 10 years ago. I worked for many years as a copywriter and creative lead.  I then had a brief stint at Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service and travelled a little in Vietnam and Thailand before changing my career. 

I tried  my hand at software and manufacturing system management, before finally joining the Fast Stream. I’m very much a doer. I love lists and being organised and I’m generally always on the go. I adore reading and enjoy arts and crafts projects and championing children’s rights and social mobility, whenever I can.

Q: What are you like outside of work?

A: Outside of work, I’m very much family orientated. I’m married and we have two young girls (now 5 and 3 years old) who are my absolute world. Hobbies such as travelling and going out have now taken a back seat to camping, dance classes and silly dance disco competitions at bedtime!

Q: Describe the Fast Stream in one sentence?

A: A great opportunity to try out different departments, develop yourself and progress.

Q: What are the three best things about the Fast Stream?

A: Flexi time, opportunity, community

Q: What interested you to apply for the Civil Service Fast Stream programme?

A: I’d worked briefly for the Civil Service in my early twenties and loved it. They were so open to new ideas and had a fabulous reward and recognition scheme and the work itself was always varied. Almost ten years later, I saw it mentioned again on Facebook and decided to look into it a little more. I almost didn’t apply as with two young children, I didn’t think the scheme would be for me. However, I decided to give it a go anyway, just to see how far I’d get.

Q: What attracted you to the programme and the particular stream that you applied for?

A: There were many things that attracted me to the programme initially. Firstly was the fact it was Civil Service. Secondly, the promise of fast progression and a good work life balance (flexi time!) were huge attractions for me - children definitely aren’t cheap and they also demand a lot of time and attention - so a well paid job where hours were flexible was a dream come true and one I wasn’t sure existed initially!

And lastly, was the fact that I could apply for the Generalist scheme - as a bit of an all-rounder without a drive in any particular direction, the promise of a generalised scheme was the icing on the cake.

Q: Please share your experience with the Fast Stream so far?

A: Originally, quite hesitant about applying, I simply decided to enjoy the online tests and see how far I got without expecting anything to come of it. The online tests were standard - difficult but in my opinion, perhaps not as difficult if you’ve had previous experience in office environments! Next came the most challenging part for me - the video interview.

The idea of essentially recording yourself (and being able to see/hear yourself while doing so) wasn’t the most palatable of ideas for me. After successfully getting through the video interview stage, I attended the assessment day which I thought was it's quite a challenging but an enjoyable day.

You get to showcase the best of yourself and test out your limits. After the assessment, the wait to find out the results was awful.  Once I found out I’d scored highly enough to join the programme, I was ecstatic and September couldn’t come around quickly enough.

The Base Camp induction was fantastic and despite my fears of being the oldest one there, I was pleasantly surprised to find a fair few who were from a similar age group. I came away feeling very empowered, ambitious and basically fired up.

Since then, the momentum hasn’t really stopped. Very varied work, plenty of extra-curricular opportunities and a fantastic community of people have characterised this first year...it was definitely worth going through the application process for.

Q: What is your ultimate aim or career ambition after you complete the programme?

A: I want to progress as far as I can whilst still being able to maintain a good work life balance. I also want to work in an area that will have a direct impact on either children or the more disadvantaged in society - so basically, the widespread dream of earning decent money while working fewer hours doing something you enjoy. Is that possible? I guess time will tell.

Q: How does the Fast Stream make you feel?

A: Like there’s no limit to what I can learn or how far I can go

Q: What advice would you give to someone interested in applying for the Civil Service Fast Stream programme?

A: I would advise them to go for it. Give it their best and make sure they aren’t shy about showcasing their strengths. There’s no limit to what you can achieve once you’re on the programme - even if like me, you have little people who will always come first. I have encouraged everyone I know to apply. For me, the Civil Service is a great place to work. The consideration shown to employees is second to none - and often quite far from what you’ll find in most private sector companies!

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