https://faststream.blog.gov.uk/2020/02/21/from-an-opticians-to-the-fast-stream/

From an opticians to the Fast Stream

Rows of glasses.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

A: My name is Aime, I’m a second year Generalist Fast Streamer currently working in Bail, Sentencing and Release Policy at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). Before joining the Fast Stream I worked in an opticians for six years, did various casual jobs/internships in libraries and completed a degree in Politics. I was living in Stirling, a lovely city in Central Scotland, but relocated to London to take up my place on the Fast Stream.

Q: What are you like outside of work?

A: Outside of work I’m a big crafter, especially sewing, knitting and embroidery. Although I am willing to give any craft a go, at least once! I’m also an avid reader and huge advocate for your local library. I love living in London and getting to go to the theatre regularly, as well as all the incredible food options! But I also love getting back to Scotland often to see my friends and family.

Q: What circumstances led you to applying/joining the Civil Service Fast Stream?

A: As I entered my final year at uni I started to give some serious thought as to what I wanted to do after I graduated. I loved my job in the opticians, having worked there full time before going to uni and going part time during my degree, but I knew I needed a new challenge. Working in libraries was really fulfilling and fun, so I considered doing a Masters in Library and Information Studies to become a librarian.

However, I was conscious of the lack of jobs in the sector and was reluctant to go straight into more full-time education. I loved the content and reading during my degree but I was not a natural student and I was keen to get back to working full time. I found out about the Fast Stream after researching graduate schemes. I read online that the feedback you got on your application was really thorough and helpful so I decided to apply and just see how it went. Turns out it went really well!

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

A: I was really interested in the opportunity to try out different roles in the Civil Service. I didn’t have a clear idea of what I really wanted to do, so I thought that getting stuck in and trying out a few different roles would be the best way to find out! I went for the Generalist Scheme because it felt like the best fit for me.

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

A: I’ve had a really positive experience with the Fast Stream! No job is perfect, or without its frustrations, but it’s not often that you have a team of people working to support you to develop and achieve as much as you can. I think the opportunities that come with being on the Fast Stream are brilliant and I’ve been able to learn so much so quickly.

Q: How do you feel your work impacts society in general?

A: My experience is that any job you do in the Civil Service will have a very real impact on society and that is a great privilege. It also means that you have a responsibility to society, which can be easy to forget in the day to day but it’s important to take a step back and remember that.

Q: What key things have you learned since you joined the Fast Stream?

A: That reflection is key to success and development, but reflection is a muscle and you have to exercise it! I try to set aside some time every week to reflect on what has gone well and what could have gone better. I think about what I could do differently and what I would like to achieve in the weeks ahead. It’s sometimes hard to do, but I’ve seen that the best leaders are the people that work really hard to keep learning and improving, which you can only do with self-awareness and reflection.

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

A: I’d be really pleased to find a role that was fast-paced, interesting and within a great team of people. Anything else would just be a bonus.

Q: Describe the Fast Stream in one sentence?

A: A one-of-a-kind opportunity.

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

A: Don’t limit yourself. If you think that the Civil Service isn’t for people “like you” then that means there aren’t enough people like you, and there needs to be! I thought I wasn’t posh enough or well-spoken enough, but I’m inspired every day by people who you might not imagine as typical Civil Servants. More diversity is only ever a good thing.

You can pre-register your interest for the Fast Stream application window in the Autumn now via our Fast Stream website.

Sharing and comments

Share this page

Leave a comment

We only ask for your email address so we know you're a real person

By submitting a comment you understand it may be published on this public website. Please read our privacy notice to see how the GOV.UK blogging platform handles your information.