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    French and Italian.
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    (Original post by Magic-Shoes)
    Hiya,

    Just curious what degrees you took to join the civil service.
    Please respond,

    Magic!
    Physics, although I work as a civil servant for a MoD trading fund rather than direct for the government, but it still counts!
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    Does anyone know how long it usually takes to be nominated for the internal fast stream once you go into the CS at AO or EO level? And if I do actually get an interview for an AO or EO level job, would it be unwise to ask this question?
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    (Original post by Crux)
    Does anyone know how long it usually takes to be nominated for the internal fast stream once you go into the CS at AO or EO level? And if I do actually get an interview for an AO or EO level job, would it be unwise to ask this question?
    You have to pass your probationary period - normally 1 year, before you are eligible to apply.

    Most civil service jobs require interviews - and it probably wouldn't harm your prospects if you said that you were looking at the in-service Fast Stream. Quite the opposite - shows you've done your research and have chosen the civil service as a career path. One thing they may ask is why you are choosing this route and not the external route. (To apply for an AO job externally normally you need 5 GCSEs; for an EO add two A-Levels). i.e. With a degree, you may be asked questions around being "overqualified"
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    (Original post by Magic-Shoes)
    Hiya,

    Just curious what degrees you took to join the civil service.
    Please respond,

    Magic!
    For the zillionth time, you don't take a degree to join the civil service. My advice would be to study something that you are genuinely interested in and/or have a talent for.

    People I work with have degrees in a huge range of fields - yes, even those with sociology and media studies degrees. My director is studying for a postgraduate degree in economics. Two of my "grade sevens" (the grade most people move onto from the Fast Stream) have backgrounds in statistics. I did economics first, then history. That's before going anywhere near the communications and legal specialists, or our procurement and finance experts.

    Having this level of diversity is a huge asset. I'm asking people for their advice and opinions all the time - this is a strength.

    For those of us working as policy advisers, having taken all that advice we then have to combine it all and make a judgement on what to recommend to senior managers and ministers. It could be something like:
    - Legal has advised there are EU State Aid issues that could cause problems;
    - Finance has advised that budgetary constraints mean that other programmes will have to be cut if this one goes ahead;
    - Strategic communications has advised that this may cause problems with some stakeholders which you will need to be aware of;
    - Evidence from our statisticians and analysts show that the potential impacts of the proposals are a,b and c.
    - Policy considerations include x,y and z.

    On the basis of the above, my recommendation is...

    So...yeah. People of many talents are required in a team. Legal won't be aware of budgetary constraints and statisticians probably won't be aware of things like any relevant legal powers needed to take something forward.

    That's why I say to people there's no "civil service degree" that puts you ahead of others.
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    How long is process for getting jobs in the Civil Service (probably as an EO)? As in, if I want a job for after when I graduate, when should I be starting to apply for things?
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    (Original post by Prince Rhyus)
    You have to pass your probationary period - normally 1 year, before you are eligible to apply.

    Most civil service jobs require interviews - and it probably wouldn't harm your prospects if you said that you were looking at the in-service Fast Stream. Quite the opposite - shows you've done your research and have chosen the civil service as a career path. One thing they may ask is why you are choosing this route and not the external route. (To apply for an AO job externally normally you need 5 GCSEs; for an EO add two A-Levels). i.e. With a degree, you may be asked questions around being "overqualified"
    Well I failed the external fast stream and am now considering doing it internally (hoping it might be easier this way) and these roles still pay up to and above £20k. And the AO and EO level jobs are still going to be competitive given that each of the advertised vacancies on the civil service website for these roles are single vacancy roles (with likely competition from fellow graduates).

    You say you have to pass a year long probationary before you are even eligible to apply. However, do you know of anyone who has applied and been turned down for it? I mean how difficult is it to be nominated internally for the fast stream? And is it a relatively quick process once you have passed your probation period and applied?

    Lastly, if I were to get a job at EO level, would I still be able to apply for the external fast stream (perhaps on the quiet) and if I passed it, would I be able to just quit my post in the EO post and move to the fast stream? Or would the civil service take a somewhat dim view of that?
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    (Original post by Crux)
    Lastly, if I were to get a job at EO level, would I still be able to apply for the external fast stream (perhaps on the quiet) and if I passed it, would I be able to just quit my post in the EO post and move to the fast stream? Or would the civil service take a somewhat dim view of that?

    Yes, but you can only apply for one or the other each year, IoW you can apply either through the internal or the external route. If I muff up next year as well, I will very likely end up looking for a PT AO or more likely EO job if I can find one, ideally to start around February, March or April 2011, or failing that around October. I will then still go ahead and go for the 2012 FS entry through the external route, and if that fails or I don't like the offers, then try for the internal route in the autumn of 2012.

    That's my plan anyway, but as to how much it might 'piss off' my department, managers and so on if I go down this road I really don't know. I suppose to an extent it depends on where the AO/EO job is, for example if it's at the local Job Centre Plus and I end up getting a place say in the Department of Health through the FS, then at least initially it is very unlikely to have any real impact, and if anything I'd guess that your line managers would be happy for you more than anything else.


    I'd actually appreciate any other perspectives on this as it happens, considering my current 'game plan' for the next couple of years. Heck, who knows, public spending might have started going up by the end of 2012...
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    Oh I should also point out that there are also fixed-term jobs out there, generally they seem to be there as maternity cover. But if you get one of those, then so long as you actually serve the full term (seems to be 12 months generally), then I very much doubt that there would be any problem.
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    (Original post by Crux)
    You say you have to pass a year long probationary before you are even eligible to apply. However, do you know of anyone who has applied and been turned down for it? I mean how difficult is it to be nominated internally for the fast stream? And is it a relatively quick process once you have passed your probation period and applied?

    Lastly, if I were to get a job at EO level, would I still be able to apply for the external fast stream (perhaps on the quiet) and if I passed it, would I be able to just quit my post in the EO post and move to the fast stream? Or would the civil service take a somewhat dim view of that?
    I know a couple of people who went through the in-service route and crashed and burned at the FSAC. Strangely enough they turned out to be better policy people than me.

    There are those who have (for whatever reason) decide to go through the external fast stream route despite being full-time civil servants - in particular those who want the ability to start in a new department.
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    (Original post by Prince Rhyus)
    I know a couple of people who went through the in-service route and crashed and burned at the FSAC. Strangely enough they turned out to be better policy people than me.

    There are those who have (for whatever reason) decide to go through the external fast stream route despite being full-time civil servants - in particular those who want the ability to start in a new department.
    But surely you must reveal to the fast stream whether you already work within the civil service? If not, then there's nothing to lose by taking an AO or EO post because irrespective of that, you can still apply for the external fast stream every September. But how difficult do you think it is it to be nominated internally for the fast stream? Do you have to compete with other internal applicants? And are you able to apply for the internal fast stream as soon as your probationary period ends?

    My impression so far seems to be that whilst the internal fast stream has a much higher pass rate (around 45% compared to 2%), its still conditional on being nominated it and could work out being a much longer process (for instance, it may take a couple of years to be nominated)...

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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    (Original post by Crux)
    But surely you must reveal to the fast stream whether you already work within the civil service? If not, then there's nothing to lose by taking an AO or EO post because irrespective of that, you can still apply for the external fast stream every September. But how difficult do you think it is it to be nominated internally for the fast stream? Do you have to compete with other internal applicants? And are you able to apply for the internal fast stream as soon as your probationary period ends?

    My impression so far seems to be that whilst the internal fast stream has a much higher pass rate (around 45% compared to 2%), its still conditional on being nominated it and could work out being a much longer process (for instance, it may take a couple of years to be nominated)...

    Please correct me if I'm wrong.
    If you are a permanent civil servant, you have the choice of either. You can choose to go through the in-service route, or you can take the choice of the trench warfare of the external route.

    How you get to the FSAC (which anyone who joins the Fast Stream has to pass) will vary from department to department. Remember that for the in-service route, your department is sponsoring your application - i.e. it is saying to Cabinet Office (that oversees the whole process) that applications sponsored by individual departments are from applicants who have a realistic chance of passing.

    For me, I needed my line manager's comments on each of the listed competencies. It then needed comments and counter-signatures from my head of HR and from the head of my organisation (the equivelant of a G3/Director level senior civil servant). Given that "developing talent" is one of the things that managers are being measured on, getting applicants successfully through the FSAC looks good on their performance reports so there is an incentive on them to put forward good applicants - not just anyone. But the deal is that if you pass the FSAC through the in-service route, you have to go back to your home department - only as a Fast Streamer, which in most cases means a pay rise. Moving onto the Fast Stream meant a promotion of two grades and a 70% pay rise, so there were few complaints on that front.

    The only realistic comparison you can make between the external and internal candidates is the differences in performance at the FSAC. No data is held for those applications that don't get signed off internally by departments, so I have no idea what the attrition rate is there. What I can say is that spending time inside the system gives you a feel for how the organisation functions.

    I had a catch up with one of my old line managers today and we were talking about the strengths and weaknesses of the Fast Stream as a system. One of the things a former director of mine said was that the Fast Stream (and the prestigeous departments of state) does not teach you is how to deal with mediocrity with regards to people who you are working with or reliant upon. I know what he means.

    Basically if you spend your time surrounded by lots of high fliers - as you inevitably will do if you are successful exam-wise at school, college and university, how do you cope working with people who may have only left school with a handful of GCSEs? How do you cope with people who may seem perfectly pleasant face-to-face but are completely unreliable when it comes to delivering what you need?

    What about the cases of working with junior grades who have been in the civil service longer than you have been alive? There are people who I work with and have worked with who tick that box - and I turned 30 only a few months ago. These are people who remember things like typing pools - where as policy advisers we'd draft up stuff in writing, send it downstairs to be typed up and have it sent back, playing "ping pong" as all the corrections are made before final submissions are made.
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    (Original post by Prince Rhyus)
    I had a catch up with one of my old line managers today and we were talking about the strengths and weaknesses of the Fast Stream as a system. One of the things a former director of mine said was that the Fast Stream (and the prestigeous departments of state) does not teach you is how to deal with mediocrity with regards to people who you are working with or reliant upon. I know what he means.

    Basically if you spend your time surrounded by lots of high fliers - as you inevitably will do if you are successful exam-wise at school, college and university, how do you cope working with people who may have only left school with a handful of GCSEs? How do you cope with people who may seem perfectly pleasant face-to-face but are completely unreliable when it comes to delivering what you need?

    Oddly enough I'm getting some of this right now, almost literally. I've been part of setting up a club, association, whatever you want to call it. And of course the biggest problem is getting people to actually put themselves forward to be committee members, etc... So basically of those that there are, most are great with their communication and do what they say, but one in particular just doesn't, communicate or do what he says he'll do. It's bloody annoying as we really need him to either do the job he's committed to doing, or admit that he's as unreliable as the British weather and then the rest of us (namely me) can pick up the slack...


    Its all giving me great stuff for and FSAC though, if I manage to get through to one of course... I'm even considering running for a position as a school governor, apprently it looks good on your CV
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    Hi

    Has anyone got any information on the in-service route and how it compares to the graduate scheme. I know if i apply that way my chances of getting a place will improve due to the number of applicants applyng for the graduate scheme but are the tests and FSAC or are they easier?
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    Hi

    Does anyone know if all this information re non-fast stream applies to the FCO? i.e. if one was to join the FCO as an administrative/executive assistant, would there be potential in the future to apply for policy roles or the internal fast stream, or do the career paths of a policy entrant (fast stream) and the lower grades remain separate for the duration of ones career?

    Thanks
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    (Original post by Prince Rhyus)
    If you are a permanent civil servant, you have the choice of either. You can choose to go through the in-service route, or you can take the choice of the trench warfare of the external route.

    How you get to the FSAC (which anyone who joins the Fast Stream has to pass) will vary from department to department. Remember that for the in-service route, your department is sponsoring your application - i.e. it is saying to Cabinet Office (that oversees the whole process) that applications sponsored by individual departments are from applicants who have a realistic chance of passing.
    Its worth reinforcing some of these points.

    For the in-service route, each department will have its own internal criteria for accepting applications. The department where I used to work insisted on applicants having been in the Civil Service for more than two years, rather than the minimum of one year which has been previously quoted.

    It is also only open to full time civil servants appointed by 'fair and open competition' - those on casual, temporary or many fixed term contracts are largely excluded due to this rule.

    On the other hand, going through an departments internal selection procedure to be shortlisted to be put forward may help you at the FSAC as elements of the process may be similar (depends on a departments internal selection method)

    Just remember you can only apply to the Fast stream once each year and you need to choose if that is internal or external each year.

    Having said that many existing civil servants go through the external route (including some existing Fast streamers) as they either want to change department or couldn't get shortlisted by their own for some reason.
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    (Original post by dj2008)
    Does anyone know if all this information re non-fast stream applies to the FCO? i.e. if one was to join the FCO as an administrative/executive assistant, would there be potential in the future to apply for policy roles or the internal fast stream, or do the career paths of a policy entrant (fast stream) and the lower grades remain separate for the duration of ones career?
    The FCO does not currently have a in-service fast stream option.

    However, if you join the FCO at a lower grade, you can apply for policy roles.. and when you're promoted to the FCO HEO grade, there is no difference internally between you and someone who joined via the Fast Stream at that grade.

    Some FCO staff don't want to wait for internal promotion so try for the external fast stream competition..
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    (Original post by heveweight)
    Hi

    Has anyone got any information on the in-service route and how it compares to the graduate scheme. I know if i apply that way my chances of getting a place will improve due to the number of applicants applyng for the graduate scheme but are the tests and FSAC or are they easier?
    The scheme is the same - the only difference is the route you take to get on it. Once you are on the Fast Stream, there is no differentiation between in-service and external.
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    Cheers for the info.

    Is temping a good way into a permanent job in the civil service?

    If so are there specific recruitment agencies that provide for the civil service in London?

    Thanks
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    just thought I'd add my own experience so far for those interested, PR and Quady have helped me before in the past with questons.

    I graduated in 08 and joined the CS (DWP) as an EO in a permanent operations role in Aug 09.

    Probation was 6 months which has just been completed.

    DWP are currently re-developing their inservice application procedure as part ofSTEP (See Talent Emerge and Progress) so for now I'm in no positon to offer any info on it. I'm waiting eagerly to see what the new released framework is.

    Not sure if that has an bearing on other government departments.

    I will say that there seems to be a good opportunity to develop yourself, even before any prospective FS application. I was pretty mindful of not having policy experience so have managed to get onto one of the several schemes whereby I'll get to work in a policy esque role, if only for a few weeks.

    There is also plenty of other L&D stuff, project managment, comms etc that is all over the internal CS pages once you join.

    On a final note, I was going to apply for the external route back in Sept 09 (just after being appointed) but having spoken to HR they informed me that would render me ineligible for the 2010 internal scheme that would be advertised in March.

    hope some of that helps
 
 
 
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