Civil Service Fast Stream 2016/2017

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    (Original post by ZonnyJammer)
    Just as a little sub-discussion, I'm interested to know everyone's back up plans if they aren't accepted on to the fast stream this year

    I'm a third year history undergrad


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    I'm a third year politics undergrad, other options are BBC Training Academy, and Cancer Research Grad Scheme. Otherwise, I guess I'll just apply for 'real' jobs! You?
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    (Original post by whyamianadult)
    I'm a third year politics undergrad, other options are BBC Training Academy, and Cancer Research Grad Scheme. Otherwise, I guess I'll just apply for 'real' jobs! You?
    All sound quite interesting, might have a look at those! I've been looking at the Ministry of Defence's Commercial Graduate Programme (DCGP) as one option, I need to add to this though

    I'm also considering taking a masters course but in something that leads to a more obvious career path, which one I have no idea...
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    (Original post by ZonnyJammer)
    All sound quite interesting, might have a look at those! I've been looking at the Ministry of Defence's Commercial Graduate Programme (DCGP) as one option, I need to add to this though

    I'm also considering taking a masters course but in something that leads to a more obvious career path, which one I have no idea...

    Those sound really interesting! Me too.. I'm going to apply to Masters too just in case but I'm kinda ready to earn money rather than be a poor student for another year.

    Have been practicing the verbal reasoning tests, they definitely get easier! But the situational judgement tests on the other hand. . .
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    I'm wondering why people don't seem to consider applying directly for civil service jobs if they fail the fast stream? Sometimes you can progress just as fast and certainly faster if you include the several years it could take you to get onto the fast stream in the first place!
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    I'm also applying this year, does anyone recommend any good books/ online resources to revise from. Any help would be appreciated especially for the numerical reasoning.. haven't done maths since GCSE 4 years ago.
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    (Original post by zakiah nasir)
    I'm also applying this year, does anyone recommend any good books/ online resources to revise from. Any help would be appreciated especially for the numerical reasoning.. haven't done maths since GCSE 4 years ago.
    We talked about a couple of books a few posts up, I've got the civil service fast stream tests by Richard McMunn, which is pretty good

    I'd also recommend getting your old maths books out if you have them, really helping me so far


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    (Original post by ZonnyJammer)
    We talked about a couple of books a few posts up, I've got the civil service fast stream tests by Richard McMunn, which is pretty good

    I'd also recommend getting your old maths books out if you have them, really helping me so far

    Thank you i'll have a look now!

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    Thats great thank you so much! Luckily i still have my old maths books and revision guides haha
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    (Original post by Daniellecorni5h)
    I'm wondering why people don't seem to consider applying directly for civil service jobs if they fail the fast stream? Sometimes you can progress just as fast and certainly faster if you include the several years it could take you to get onto the fast stream in the first place!
    totally agree! i did this and im starting a new role next week
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    (Original post by Daniellecorni5h)
    I'm wondering why people don't seem to consider applying directly for civil service jobs if they fail the fast stream? Sometimes you can progress just as fast and certainly faster if you include the several years it could take you to get onto the fast stream in the first place!
    It's worth considering, so I'll give out some brief information regarding my own experiences for everyone to see.

    I started out working for the Home Office as an AO (Level 2) fresh out of university and in just over a year I've been promoted to a HEO (Level 4.) So it is certainly do-able with a little hard work and luck.

    There is a benefit to applying for internal vacancies as often the application process is somewhat easier and you can use examples of achievements directly related to the organisation. However, not all of them do and the most senior roles will want a full set of competency examples (like the examples you might prepare for the Fast Stream Selection Centre Interview) - written application with 250 words per competency and if you pass that, again, provide examples at the interview.

    It is not necessarily easy to get a job in the civil service though, you must have strong, well-written competencies relatable to the position you are applying for. They therefore value experience, so if all you have to show is a shiny degree and enthusiasm you are unlikely to get very far.

    Around 200 people applied for the 10 vacancies available for the job I originally applied for - for later positions the competition was even higher. So a 5% success rate isn't essentially much better than the overall Fast Stream success rate. This is just my experience though, it will obviously vary a lot between different jobs and sectors, and more specialised roles are much more likely to have less competition.

    Things you should definitely note:
    • Permanent contracts these days are somewhat rare, you are far more likely to come across temporary contracts. However, contracts are often extended and if there's a business need, you may be made permanent (which is what happened to me).
    • Internal vacancies are often on temporary promotion, after which you will revert back to your original grade, unless there is a business need to keep you in that position, which is more often the case.
    • It is very difficult to succeed in applying for a vacancy that involves leadership and management if you don't already have work experience in that area, your chances are pretty slim.
    • Some career areas such as the FCO Diplomatic Service can only be accessed through the Fast Stream, and you should keep this in mind when considering your options.

    So it's an option that is doable but it will take you longer to get into higher management working your way up from an admin role. I am actually applying for the Fast Stream this year and I would definitely say getting some work experience in the civil service is worth doing prior to the Fast Stream or if you're not successful, it will give you the skills and experience to be a stronger candidate.
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    (Original post by Daniellecorni5h)
    I'm wondering why people don't seem to consider applying directly for civil service jobs if they fail the fast stream? Sometimes you can progress just as fast and certainly faster if you include the several years it could take you to get onto the fast stream in the first place!
    I failed to get into the fast stream twice and looked into applying directly for civil service jobs, but I was baffled by the competency terms in most roles. For example a current Graduate Intern Role with the Department for Education wants you to demonstrate evidence of 'Changing and Improving,' 'Collaborating and Partnering' 'Delivering at Pace' and 'Managing a Quality Service.' I
    have quite a bit of work experience but I couldn't work out how to apply it to each heading, it appeared each time there was something I hadn't done e.g. I've never managed a service.

    I did find one role that just wanted you to say why you wanted the job and how you met the (non competency based) job criteria and I got an interview, although for various reasons I wasn't successful.
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    (Original post by jelly1000)
    I failed to get into the fast stream twice and looked into applying directly for civil service jobs, but I was baffled by the competency terms in most roles. For example a current Graduate Intern Role with the Department for Education wants you to demonstrate evidence of 'Changing and Improving,' 'Collaborating and Partnering' 'Delivering at Pace' and 'Managing a Quality Service.' I
    have quite a bit of work experience but I couldn't work out how to apply it to each heading, it appeared each time there was something I hadn't done e.g. I've never managed a service.

    I did find one role that just wanted you to say why you wanted the job and how you met the (non competency based) job criteria and I got an interview, although for various reasons I wasn't successful.
    The competencies can be quite baffling if you're not used to them. You have to be a little creative with how you use your examples. For example for "Managing a Quality Service" have you ever been a committee member for a club or society where you had a positive impact, helped run an event, for charity or otherwise? Anything where you did something for a person or group of people, a "service." This can be working in a shop, running a local/student newspaper, helping in your community, tutoring etc. It's also never too late to get involved in something like this that you enjoy.

    A good place to start for advice on what kind of things you should be including as examples for each competency and at what level can be found here -

    https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...3-2017_v2d.pdf

    The link below also gives a comprehensive guide on how to apply for a job in the civil service and how best to go about it and formulate your competencies.

    https://civilservicelearning.civilse...urce_v5rev.pdf

    You may find the STAR approach useful when writing a competency -
    • Situation – briefly describe the context and your role
    • Task – the specific challenge, task or job that you faced.
    • Action – what you did, how and why you did it.
    • Result – what you achieved through your actions.
    Keep the situation and task parts brief. Concentrate on the action and the result. If the result was not entirely successful describe what you learned from this and what you would do differently next time.
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    (Original post by Eboracum7)
    The competencies can be quite baffling if you're not used to them. You have to be a little creative with how you use your examples. For example for "Managing a Quality Service" have you ever been a committee member for a club or society where you had a positive impact, helped run an event, for charity or otherwise? Anything where you did something for a person or group of people, a "service." This can be working in a shop, running a local/student newspaper, helping in your community, tutoring etc. It's also never too late to get involved in something like this that you enjoy.

    A good place to start for advice on what kind of things you should be including as examples for each competency and at what level can be found here -

    https://www.gov.uk/government/upload...3-2017_v2d.pdf

    The link below also gives a comprehensive guide on how to apply for a job in the civil service and how best to go about it and formulate your competencies.

    https://civilservicelearning.civilse...urce_v5rev.pdf

    You may find the STAR approach useful when writing a competency -
    • Situation – briefly describe the context and your role
    • Task – the specific challenge, task or job that you faced.
    • Action – what you did, how and why you did it.
    • Result – what you achieved through your actions.
    Keep the situation and task parts brief. Concentrate on the action and the result. If the result was not entirely successful describe what you learned from this and what you would do differently next time.
    Thanks for the long reply, I think the fact I'm dyspraxic doesn't help- it makes it harder for me to think outside the box. I was a society member at uni and helped organise events for them (I finished a year ago now) and I've also helped to organise an event with the charity I'm at, had no idea those examples would be appropriate. I was aware of STAR though.

    I've actually got an internship lined up starting next month, but once that ends I will give the non fast stream roles another look and hopefully will have some really good examples to use too
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    (Original post by Eboracum7)
    It's worth considering, so I'll give out some brief information regarding my own experiences for everyone to see.

    I started out working for the Home Office as an AO (Level 2) fresh out of university and in just over a year I've been promoted to a HEO (Level 4.) So it is certainly do-able with a little hard work and luck.

    There is a benefit to applying for internal vacancies as often the application process is somewhat easier and you can use examples of achievements directly related to the organisation. However, not all of them do and the most senior roles will want a full set of competency examples (like the examples you might prepare for the Fast Stream Selection Centre Interview) - written application with 250 words per competency and if you pass that, again, provide examples at the interview.

    It is not necessarily easy to get a job in the civil service though, you must have strong, well-written competencies relatable to the position you are applying for. They therefore value experience, so if all you have to show is a shiny degree and enthusiasm you are unlikely to get very far.

    Around 200 people applied for the 10 vacancies available for the job I originally applied for - for later positions the competition was even higher. So a 5% success rate isn't essentially much better than the overall Fast Stream success rate. This is just my experience though, it will obviously vary a lot between different jobs and sectors, and more specialised roles are much more likely to have less competition.

    Things you should definitely note:
    • Permanent contracts these days are somewhat rare, you are far more likely to come across temporary contracts. However, contracts are often extended and if there's a business need, you may be made permanent (which is what happened to me).
    • Internal vacancies are often on temporary promotion, after which you will revert back to your original grade, unless there is a business need to keep you in that position, which is more often the case.
    • It is very difficult to succeed in applying for a vacancy that involves leadership and management if you don't already have work experience in that area, your chances are pretty slim.
    • Some career areas such as the FCO Diplomatic Service can only be accessed through the Fast Stream, and you should keep this in mind when considering your options.
    So it's an option that is doable but it will take you longer to get into higher management working your way up from an admin role. I am actually applying for the Fast Stream this year and I would definitely say getting some work experience in the civil service is worth doing prior to the Fast Stream or if you're not successful, it will give you the skills and experience to be a stronger candidate.
    That was such a useful post! Thank you.

    If you don't mind me asking, what was your background prior to applying for the job? i.e. graduate or been working? subject?
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    (Original post by whyamianadult)
    That was such a useful post! Thank you.

    If you don't mind me asking, what was your background prior to applying for the job? i.e. graduate or been working? subject?
    No problem. I was an English graduate. I didn't have much work experience but I'd been captain of a sports team and president of a society at uni, as well as being a student rep. I was also a member of a University Air Squadron. I honestly think doing those things did wonders for my confidence and experience. They've helped me more than my degree itself.
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    Hey all.

    I applied for the Fast Stream back in September, and started my role in my department in April. So if anyone has any questions - whether about the application process or about working in the CS - do feel message to quote or PM me and I will do my best to answer.
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    (Original post by Liv1204)
    Hey all.

    I applied for the Fast Stream back in September, and started my role in my department in April. So if anyone has any questions - whether about the application process or about working in the CS - do feel message to quote or PM me and I will do my best to answer.
    I do! Yay so nice to hear from someone who made it all the way through.

    Do you have any tips for the situational judgement questions?

    And what department are you in?

    Also, do you like your day-to-day work?
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    (Original post by whyamianadult)
    I do! Yay so nice to hear from someone who made it all the way through.

    Do you have any tips for the situational judgement questions?

    And what department are you in?

    Also, do you like your day-to-day work?
    Hiya, no worries.

    I didn't actually do the situational judgement test, but based on preparation for the rest of it, my main advice is just to practice the tests and to really try to understand the feedback on answers. There's a practice test on the website, but there's lots of other websites where you can get similar types of tests and tips as well. But honestly, don't get too caught up in overpreparing for them - see how you do on the practice tests, but really just take time to read the questions through properly and don't panic when it comes to doing them.

    I love my day-to-day work - far more than I even expected to! It's such a brilliant place to work; there are so many opportunities for learning and development, for taking part in all sorts of activities and events, engaging with different people and really having an impact with the work you're doing. I would honestly recommend it to anyone, it's so varied, so interesting, and there are so many things to get involved with.
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    (Original post by Liv1204)
    Hey all.

    I applied for the Fast Stream back in September, and started my role in my department in April. So if anyone has any questions - whether about the application process or about working in the CS - do feel message to quote or PM me and I will do my best to answer.
    Hi I have a few questions!
    Did you apply during your last year of uni or did you apply when you had finished. Also did you get any relevant work experience/internship? I don't have anything at the moment and I don't think I will in time to apply this year. So I am wondering if it would be better to wait till I have graduated and then I could get some work experience along the way! I was thinking about having a gap year any way!
    But yeah any tips and advice would be really useful!
    Thank you!
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    Slightly concerned that I am getting terrible scores on Numerical/Verbal reasoning tests but it's still early days.
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    (Original post by Pulse.)
    Slightly concerned that I am getting terrible scores on Numerical/Verbal reasoning tests but it's still early days.
    Plenty of time for practice not to worry


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