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The Finance Fast Stream scheme

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Ahmed sitting in a chair smiling at the camera.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself

A: Though now in my early thirties, I only graduated in 2016, as I gained my degree through my previous employer. Before joining the Civil Service, I was working in finance but in the private sector, as an auditor.

Q: What are you like outside of work?

A: Outside work (and study), I am a new-ish father, with a son about to turn one. I still try to maintain a social life around all that but it is difficult at times! In my spare time, I’ll normally be seen on my phone, though I’m trying to reduce that!

Q: Describe the Fast Stream in one sentence?

A: A leadership development programme involving an incredibly varied range of potential experiences.

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

A: The colleagues I interact with, the interesting portfolios I’ve worked on, and the variety of experiences available.

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

A: Working a few years in the banking sector, I felt ready for a career change. I was  looking for something with an improved work/life balance. 

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

A: I first heard about the Fast Stream through my wife, who at the time was a civil servant. I visited the Fast Stream website to understand the offer, application process, different specialisms etc. Having already started a career,  I was initially reluctant to join what I considered a graduate programme. On looking into it, I felt the value of the specific leadership development really sold itself to me. I was naturally attracted to the finance stream due to previous experience working in a financial audit.  I felt the skills I had developed would still come in use. 

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

A: I’ve had two roles in large departments so far, which have both been very interesting, and very different. Curiously, both have not been what may be perceived as common financial roles. In my first role as a Governance Accountant at the Ministry of Justice, my role included liaising with the National Audit Office and helping the Permanent Secretary prepare for Public Accounts Committee hearings, so I really got to understand the main challenges affecting the department. 

In my current role at HMRC, I look at the cost of fiscal events, which are the measures announced at government budgets and statements. Again, this is an incredibly interesting role, as I now understand a bit more of the nuts and bolts behind some of the taxes discussed in the news.

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

A: I intend to remain in the Civil Service as a finance professional. I think there’s plenty of scope for growth and variety of roles, and I look forward to seeing how the profession develops in light of upcoming challenges and developments.

Q: How does the Fast Stream make you feel?

A: Proud to be a (hopefully) useful cog in the ‘machinery of government’.

Q: What advice would you give to someone considering applying to the Fast Stream?

A: Read up all you can about the process, the information you get directly from the Fast Stream team will be most relevant, as things do change year on year but you can never be too informed. Easier said than done but try to relax when being assessed. It’s perfectly ok to take time to think when asked a tough question, or to clarify what’s been asked of you before answering.

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