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Fast Stream 2012

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    (Original post by ellie_flower)
    No, its absolutely realistic. I'm sorry, but I'm certain more than a few people have applied to other jobs too and are having to compare salaries. That is normal. In terms of being geographically mobile, I have been mobile all my life. My parents lived in tanzania, canada, india and japan and I have been shunted from school to school to country to city to all over the shop.

    I'm really keen to settle down now. I want to make sure that I CAN do this and I won't be giving my children the life I had when i was growing up. Whilst interesting, I don't have a base at all. Please, understand this.

    Also, I was checking that £27k is for london because I will be living with my partner who will be earning a little more than that and I want to be in an equal relationship in an equal flat.

    Now youve questioned my concerns, they are obviouslt personal ones, but I had written them in as general a way as possible!!
    These are reasonable concerns. The departments have different payscales but I think its reasonable to expect that in salary, the London ones are likely to be 'late 20s' and the regions 'mid 20s'. However I do know people that started on less in London at DfID.

    As for mobility and having a base - if you want London to be your base then you can do that within the Civil Service, most opportunities are in London. However it may be that you are offered a job to start in one of the regions. If this is the case, and its a department that has a regional office and a London office then ask them if its possible to work it from London - depending on the exact job and the team some departments may be flexible with that...but don't force it. Government is pretty flexible as an employer but at the end of the day it is still government and the job comes first. If it is a case that they really specifically need you to start in that regional office then take it, and tell them that you are keen to relocate to London, when options for job rotation come around. Often departments will expect you to work for 2 years in your starting department and then you're free to move around and apply for jobs outside your department so once that happens you can just aim your career moves for London.

    The good thing about wanting a 'base' in London is you could have a career working for loads of different departments whilst based in London, that wouldn't be the case if you wanted a 'base' in Sheffield or Leeds.

    One thing I like about the Civil Service is there are options for people to fit in from different family circumstances, eg people with kids that want to stay in one place can do, then there are singletons with free spirits that want to take jobs in different departments moving round the country, doing secondments abroad etc. Also the hours, flexible working and holidays are pretty good compared to most jobs, for people wanting to spend time with their kids, equally if you want to devote your life to work there are jobs in government where people are married to the service and spend their whole lives working, and by making that sacrifice they get a very successful and rewarding career at the heart of government.

    It is also a healthy mix to have some people in a department that are departmental stalwarts, and others that have toured around the place and got wide experience of government, both types of career have their plus points and negatives.
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    For anyone who's been to FSAC already how far a walk from Westminster tube is it? I'm just thinking what time I need to be leaving my hotel.
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    (Original post by F6053721)
    For anyone who's been to FSAC already how far a walk from Westminster tube is it? I'm just thinking what time I need to be leaving my hotel.
    No time at all - ten minutes? Given they say be there for eight and you don't know the way, leave your room at seven thirty though.
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    (Original post by comeluckyapril)
    So is everyone who has been unsuccessful for DS and HoP and amber-banded for CD feeling as dejected as I am right now?! I can't bear the thought of hanging on by a thread for potentially another month only to be given the eventual 'no' (I'm trying to be realistic, not pessimistic). If I ring up will they be able to give me any indication of my realistic chance of getting anything at the end of all this?

    I had so much fun at the assessment centre but I feel like this has been hanging over me since I applied back in September!
    I am dejected in the sense that I have quite clearly come fairly close this year - but philosophical to the extent that I think I did well to have come this far. I haven't graduated from university yet and only turn 21 in the summer, and the whole application process (although I think it is a horribly drawn out and dare I say rather unfair one) has got me to the point where I am pretty sure the civil service is where I want to be. So my feeling is I have a decent shot for next year and am in no hurry - obviously it'd have been lovely to have a job for this year but que sera.
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    (Original post by SevenWonders)
    No time at all - ten minutes? Given they say be there for eight and you don't know the way, leave your room at seven thirty though.
    Think I might go out for something to eat the night before and do a practice run so I know where I'm going. Is it easy enough to find? I'll probably be there ridiculously early now but better than late!
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    Is anyone on here already working for the Civil Service? I am, but chose to go external instead of through inservice route.
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    (Original post by F6053721)
    Think I might go out for something to eat the night before and do a practice run so I know where I'm going. Is it easy enough to find? I'll probably be there ridiculously early now but better than late!
    Look it up on Googlemaps. From Westminster tube, the easiest way to remember is walking downwards along the river (downwards as in away from the Eye, with Big Ben on your right) and then turning right.
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    (Original post by SevenWonders)
    I am dejected in the sense that I have quite clearly come fairly close this year - but philosophical to the extent that I think I did well to have come this far. I haven't graduated from university yet and only turn 21 in the summer, and the whole application process (although I think it is a horribly drawn out and dare I say rather unfair one) has got me to the point where I am pretty sure the civil service is where I want to be. So my feeling is I have a decent shot for next year and am in no hurry - obviously it'd have been lovely to have a job for this year but que sera.
    I can't comment on how fair it is, but I'm pretty sure as recruitment processes for grad schemes go, it's not really that drawn out, I have one going that still haven't decided if they want me to go to the assessment centre.

    Going back to fairness though, as far as numerical and verbal test go, I think they were pretty fair, e-tray seemed a little dodgey, and assessment centre was also pretty well ran.
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    (Original post by piemuncher3)
    yep, I'm out for DS and HOP, awaiting results on CD ... fun times ....
    Better than me. Was a straight unsuccessful, which is disappointing as I came out feeling positive. Oh well - onwards and upwards
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    Did anyone else have their assessors mobile phone go off during the interview?

    During my interview the assessors phone went off at least two or three times - was very distracting! I wouldn't have minded if the assessor wanted to pause for a minute to switch it off but thought it was unprofessional.
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    (Original post by comeluckyapril)
    So is everyone who has been unsuccessful for DS and HoP and amber-banded for CD feeling as dejected as I am right now?! I can't bear the thought of hanging on by a thread for potentially another month only to be given the eventual 'no' (I'm trying to be realistic, not pessimistic). If I ring up will they be able to give me any indication of my realistic chance of getting anything at the end of all this?

    I had so much fun at the assessment centre but I feel like this has been hanging over me since I applied back in September!
    Hi, I'm a current fast streamer (went through the 2009-10 process). I didn't find out I'd passed anything until March 21st that year, and I ended up passing for both CD and HoP (though not for FCO). So I really wouldn't get too upset just yet. Okay, getting a no for HoP isn't the best omen, but it's so hard to predict where the cut offs will be. If you'd done terribly, you'd be out completely by now.

    The wait is infuriating, but hang on in there. And remember, if you do fail this time, you'll be in a much better position if you want to try again next time, when you'll a)have had some practise and b)have been given very detailed feedback.
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    (Original post by TomDixie)
    Sorry to rain on your parade mate, but they'll be slotted back in ahead of you due to their higher FSAC score
    That's what they claim, but in practise it all seems to be a bit random. In 2010, I held out for HoP, didn't get it and fell right down the CD list. I know someone who got a score over 20, got a FCO FSB, failed that and then almost ended up having her CD place deferred for a year as most of the jobs had gone by the time she knew she didn't have FCO. It should be better this year as that was amidst cuts and the big spending review, but I'd actually advise anyone who is keen to start quickly and isn't that bothered about FCO/HoP or doesn't really think they'll get it, to just take CD and get going with it.
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    (Original post by seraphina)
    Hi, I'm a current fast streamer (went through the 2009-10 process). I didn't find out I'd passed anything until March 21st that year, and I ended up passing for both CD and HoP (though not for FCO). So I really wouldn't get too upset just yet. Okay, getting a no for HoP isn't the best omen, but it's so hard to predict where the cut offs will be. If you'd done terribly, you'd be out completely by now.

    The wait is infuriating, but hang on in there. And remember, if you do fail this time, you'll be in a much better position if you want to try again next time, when you'll a)have had some practise and b)have been given very detailed feedback.
    Thanks for your reassuring words! In a way it's almost infuriating to know I'm clearly going to end up with quite a close score but I'm still at uni and it's my first time applying so I'm doing my best to feel positive about it. I'm sure it's probably been mentioned, but do you find out your score in your feedback? So I'll get to find out just how close I am?

    EDIT: Do you know anyone at all who didn't get HoP and did get CD?
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    Just had my FSAC today, so now I shall be joining all you other speculative chaps
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    (Original post by Rice_Daddy)
    I can't comment on how fair it is, but I'm pretty sure as recruitment processes for grad schemes go, it's not really that drawn out, I have one going that still haven't decided if they want me to go to the assessment centre.

    Going back to fairness though, as far as numerical and verbal test go, I think they were pretty fair, e-tray seemed a little dodgey, and assessment centre was also pretty well ran.
    I think the assessment centre was well-run enough, I just am not sure that such rigorous and box-ticking competency scrutinising is really the best way to recruit intelligent, thoughtful people committed to a career in government (which is what the fast stream is supposed to be). The demarcated way the scoring runs (16.9 and you're out, 17.1 and you're in) is all very well, but it gives no room for personality, character or flair - or even a basic interest in politics and public policy, which one would think should be something of a requirement. It is a little frustrating as someone who knows a lot about politics and has done a considerable amount of work across the board in it that this counts for nothing and being able to explain an occasion when you did this or that to their satisfaction and marked down to within an inch of my life counts for everything. Work experience with a bank helps you get a job with a bank; work experience in local and national government helps you no way at all.
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    (Original post by ellie_flower)

    I have been offered a masters program in canada with funding -I posted a thread on the main page in careers about the nitty bitty details. But the thing that is stopping me from rejecting it outright and continuining my obsessive watching of the civil service thread is the following: please, please help if you've got anything to offer.

    1. The location: According to the website, 1 in 5 civil servants ARENT based in London. With all the love in the world, I've spent all of my life circling London, living in cities like Sheffield, Liverpool, manchester, Cardiff, went to school in south wales, university in Durham, school again in Sussex. I NEED TO LIVE IN LONDON NOW!! This is a massive concern: does anybody know about this? Which central departments are not in London so people who want to be in Lodnon can avoid selecting them?

    2. The pay: It says on the website £25k-27. I'm assuming £25k would be if you were in Sheffield or Liverpool or something? Or do people know if wages are based on experience such as having a masters etc?

    3. Do we get the chance to move around? Say we were put with the Inland Revenue or something. I mean, unemployment has to be a better option???/!!!!! I know we might grow to love it, but I'm just not certain. Any thoughts on this would be massively appreciated.

    And, these are all of my concerns. Thank you so much.
    1) I'm not aware of anyone who wanted a London role and was forced to take a permanent out of London role. The vast majority of fast stream jobs are London based and as they're keen for fast streamers to get lots of exposure to ministers etc I suspect the Cabinet Office would rather you were in London. The out of London ones seem to get snapped up quickly by people relatively local to that area who are desperate to stay there. As someone mentioned DH's main offices are in Leeds, but every fast streamer I've ever met from there has a Yorkshire accent! (So do I, so that's not a dig at anyone...)
    The one exception is if you want to do an operational role, as most of those are out of London (eg. job centres, courts, tax offices, DVLA etc) but you'd usually only do that for a year and still "belong" to a London based home department.
    So I really wouldn't worry about that issue.

    2) Regarding pay, I think it varies more from department to department than location to location. There used to be a London weighing, but I'm pretty sure that was got rid of. I also suspect the range is actually wider than that - unless they were exaggerating. I'm sure I know people who started on about £31 000 at some departments. The starting salary isn't the only issue though. I'm at DfT for example, and I started on £26 750. But it goes up by £3000 after a year, £2000 after two and another £1000 after three. Some departments start higher but don't climb as sharply. At DfT, you can get an extra £100 per month if you have a masters - no idea whether the same is true at other departments. I think the Cabinet Office is trying to standardise pay and other conditions across the
    fast stream, but not doing very well so far!
    It's also worth bearing in mind that an extra two grand a year really isn't much a month post-tax/NI/loan/pension contributions etc, so it's really not worth worrying about or making a decision based on it

    3)I really think the whole choosing a department thing is massively overthought by candidates. When I got Transport I was totally nonplussed, but I really have started to love it. Fundamentally, you'll be doing the same sort of work whichever department you're in. The exact role you do within it is more important. Think about it like this - You could go to HMRC and get a job in international tax fraud or go to the Home Office and get a job in corporate finance. I know someone who got FCO and ended up in the IT team! They were not amused. It's a bit of a cliche, but I really aren't aware of many people who hate their department and often the more random ones have higher satisfaction ratings in surveys done after a year than the more superficially glamourous ones.
    Plus you ought to be able to get a year long secondment to another department fairly easily (longer term secondments or total swaps are rarer, but not totally unheard of) and of course, you can be promoted into any department you then apply to.

    In conclusion, I really wouldn't let any of the specific issues you raise put you off. On the other hand, your masters sounds very exciting. Firstly, could you defer for a year? It's difficult but potentially doable. Secondly, if you've passed once, it's likely you might pass again after your masters. I'd hugely recommend the faststream, but it would be a shame to do it if your heart isn't in it when you've got another fab opportunity. I certainly wouldn't drop out just yet though. Why don't you wait to find out where you're allocated (as I said above, I don't think it matters, but maybe you still do) and to give yourself time to think it through properly.

    And remember -you've got two opportunities a lot of people would kill for. There's nothing wrong with asking for advice - sometimes two much choice can be nearly as stressful as too little - but bear in mind that whichever option you take will probably be pretty good, so no point worrying too much.
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    (Original post by SevenWonders)
    I think the assessment centre was well-run enough, I just am not sure that such rigorous and box-ticking competency scrutinising is really the best way to recruit intelligent, thoughtful people committed to a career in government (which is what the fast stream is supposed to be). The demarcated way the scoring runs (16.9 and you're out, 17.1 and you're in) is all very well, but it gives no room for personality, character or flair - or even a basic interest in politics and public policy, which one would think should be something of a requirement. It is a little frustrating as someone who knows a lot about politics and has done a considerable amount of work across the board in it that this counts for nothing and being able to explain an occasion when you did this or that to their satisfaction and marked down to within an inch of my life counts for everything. Work experience with a bank helps you get a job with a bank; work experience in local and national government helps you no way at all.
    That's not necessarily true, I think for any assessment centre, there will always be close calls, it is inevitable. As for experience not helping you getting a job, I don't think that's the case, sure, it doesn't help as much as in private sector work where networking plays a big part, but having a better idea of what the role involves and the experience to talk about during interviews would certainly help.
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    (Original post by seraphina)
    1) I'm not aware of anyone who wanted a London role and was forced to take a permanent out of London role. The vast majority of fast stream jobs are London based and as they're keen for fast streamers to get lots of exposure to ministers etc I suspect the Cabinet Office would rather you were in London. The out of London ones seem to get snapped up quickly by people relatively local to that area who are desperate to stay there. As someone mentioned DH's main offices are in Leeds, but every fast streamer I've ever met from there has a Yorkshire accent! (So do I, so that's not a dig at anyone...)
    The one exception is if you want to do an operational role, as most of those are out of London (eg. job centres, courts, tax offices, DVLA etc) but you'd usually only do that for a year and still "belong" to a London based home department.
    So I really wouldn't worry about that issue.

    2) Regarding pay, I think it varies more from department to department than location to location. There used to be a London weighing, but I'm pretty sure that was got rid of. I also suspect the range is actually wider than that - unless they were exaggerating. I'm sure I know people who started on about £31 000 at some departments. The starting salary isn't the only issue though. I'm at DfT for example, and I started on £26 750. But it goes up by £3000 after a year, £2000 after two and another £1000 after three. Some departments start higher but don't climb as sharply. At DfT, you can get an extra £100 per month if you have a masters - no idea whether the same is true at other departments. I think the Cabinet Office is trying to standardise pay and other conditions across the
    fast stream, but not doing very well so far!
    It's also worth bearing in mind that an extra two grand a year really isn't much a month post-tax/NI/loan/pension contributions etc, so it's really not worth worrying about or making a decision based on it

    3)I really think the whole choosing a department thing is massively overthought by candidates. When I got Transport I was totally nonplussed, but I really have started to love it. Fundamentally, you'll be doing the same sort of work whichever department you're in. The exact role you do within it is more important. Think about it like this - You could go to HMRC and get a job in international tax fraud or go to the Home Office and get a job in corporate finance. I know someone who got FCO and ended up in the IT team! They were not amused. It's a bit of a cliche, but I really aren't aware of many people who hate their department and often the more random ones have higher satisfaction ratings in surveys done after a year than the more superficially glamourous ones.
    Plus you ought to be able to get a year long secondment to another department fairly easily (longer term secondments or total swaps are rarer, but not totally unheard of) and of course, you can be promoted into any department you then apply to.

    In conclusion, I really wouldn't let any of the specific issues you raise put you off. On the other hand, your masters sounds very exciting. Firstly, could you defer for a year? It's difficult but potentially doable. Secondly, if you've passed once, it's likely you might pass again after your masters. I'd hugely recommend the faststream, but it would be a shame to do it if your heart isn't in it when you've got another fab opportunity. I certainly wouldn't drop out just yet though. Why don't you wait to find out where you're allocated (as I said above, I don't think it matters, but maybe you still do) and to give yourself time to think it through properly.

    And remember -you've got two opportunities a lot of people would kill for. There's nothing wrong with asking for advice - sometimes two much choice can be nearly as stressful as too little - but bear in mind that whichever option you take will probably be pretty good, so no point worrying too much.
    I cant express how unbelievably helpful your post was. Thank you thank you thank you.
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    (Original post by seraphina)
    Hi, I'm a current fast streamer (went through the 2009-10 process). I didn't find out I'd passed anything until March 21st that year, and I ended up passing for both CD and HoP (though not for FCO). So I really wouldn't get too upset just yet. Okay, getting a no for HoP isn't the best omen, but it's so hard to predict where the cut offs will be. If you'd done terribly, you'd be out completely by now.

    The wait is infuriating, but hang on in there. And remember, if you do fail this time, you'll be in a much better position if you want to try again next time, when you'll a)have had some practise and b)have been given very detailed feedback.
    In your year it looks like they didn't reject people from HoP at least until after all of the FSACs, while it's been different this year and last year.

    Did you get an unsuccessful for DS at the same time as getting successful for HoP and CD late on?

    I'm amber banded for both HoP and CD, so I can't see how I've got a chance of getting to HoP FSB now - and I'm still very fearful of missing out on CD
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    (Original post by comeluckyapril)
    Thanks for your reassuring words! In a way it's almost infuriating to know I'm clearly going to end up with quite a close score but I'm still at uni and it's my first time applying so I'm doing my best to feel positive about it. I'm sure it's probably been mentioned, but do you find out your score in your feedback? So I'll get to find out just how close I am?

    EDIT: Do you know anyone at all who didn't get HoP and did get CD?

    (Original post by TomDixie)
    In your year it looks like they didn't reject people from HoP at least until after all of the FSACs, while it's been different this year and last year.

    Did you get an unsuccessful for DS at the same time as getting successful for HoP and CD late on?

    I'm amber banded for both HoP and CD, so I can't see how I've got a chance of getting to HoP FSB now - and I'm still very fearful of missing out on CD
    Sorry, can't remember either when I found out about the DS rejection or how anyone else did on HoP that year. I only know when I found out I'd been accepted because I looked on facebook for the pictures of the massive party I had that night! You do get your score with your feedback. I'm not sure what mine was now and I doubt anyone else in my year can remember there's either - there was a bit of discussion about scores at some drinks that were organised before we started work, and since then it's never been mentioned. In case anyone's wondering, it doesn't seem to define what jobs you get after your first one at all.

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