https://faststream.blog.gov.uk/2019/09/20/like-a-rollercoaster/

Like a rollercoaster

Fatima standing in a brightly lit hall, looking at the camera.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

A: I graduated in the summer of 2018 with little real world experience in terms of work. I had dabbled in part time work for my local library, but had never been exposed to policy work before. 

Q: What are you like outside of work?

A: Outside of work, I’m known to be the jokester and planner in my friends and family circles. I’m always trawling through Time Out or blog posts trying to look for the next interesting experience to tap into from funky afternoon teas to food markets. 

I also enjoy exploring areas outside of London, and often find myself cooped up in a cosy Air bnb in the countryside on weekends. I’m a massive fan of boxing and have  found a new passion for the weights section in the gym. 

Q: Describe the Fast Stream in one sentence

A: Exciting, like a rollercoaster - every time you think the ride is about to end, another unexpected drop is waiting for you. 

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

A: Supportive cohort and Cohort Leader; the Programme structure and meeting people from all walks of life! 

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

A: I knew that I wanted to enter a career where I felt like I was giving back, but I wasn’t satisfied with the options I was coming across as they didn’t feel impactful enough. I eventually came across the Civil Service Fast Stream after researching options via Google, and was immediately attracted to the concept of working on a wider scheme that would improve the daily lives of people. 

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

A: The Generalist Scheme was appealing to me as it meant that I would be able to get a feel of different departments and different roles that would vary to help me decide on what policy area or department would appeal to me the most. I was also attracted to the length of the programme as it felt like enough time to develop as well as the support mechanisms in place for doing so.

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

A: My Fast Stream experience so far (which almost now amounts to a year – how time flies!) has been a whirlwind. When I initially applied for the scheme, I read horror stories about how it was near impossible to be accepted and how you had even less of a chance if you were from a BAME or non-Oxbridge background.  

It left me feeling slightly hopeless. Nevertheless, I persisted and successfully completed all the stages in the application process. The initial weeks mainly focused on training and welcoming events, learning about my posting and meeting the team. I was then thrown into the deep end to work on EU Exit project. I feel proud and excited to see what else the future has in store for me.  

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

A: My main interest to date still falls in the realm of International Policy. I would love to work for International Development, as it aligns so well with my passions, as well as  my hope to be working in a field where I am contributing to the bigger picture.

Q: How does the Fast Stream make you feel?

A: The Fast Stream makes me feel proud. I’m proud to be working in an area that has real world impact that improves the lives of the public, even in the most subtle ways. 

Q: What advice would you give to someone else considering to apply to the Civil Service Fast Stream programme?

A: For anyone interested in applying for the Fast Stream scheme, my advice would be to genuinely go for it. Don’t just begin the application process and give up halfway, give it your all for every single stage. 

There is no ideal candidate for the scheme, and that’s what makes it so attractive. Each person brings their own unique strengths and skillset to the table, and the diverse range of people is what makes working for the Civil Service so incredible.

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