It’s nearly four months since I joined the TiB Fast Stream, and already FSAC are starting for the next round of FastStreamers. It really does never end!
Thinking of what I would have most wanted to know this time last year, it’s that I could do what I’m doing now – work out of London! I remember being very worried when I applied that either the only placements would be in London, or that everyone would want the out of London ones. As it happens, the TiB scheme is actually trying to encourage more people outside of London so I had nothing to worry about. I’m now with the DfE in Darlington and while it involves a fair amount of travel it’s perfectly doable. And the travel’s not just to London either! Thus far I’ve been to Sheffield, Runcorn, Manchester… Contrary to my initial perception there’s a surprising amount of work and meetings that need to take place outside of the capital. The Department for Education is a strong believer in, as far as possible, people being able to do any job anywhere. That means we have a lot of people outfitted with remote working equipment, and you shouldn’t be surprised if, at some point, you’re managed by someone who works in a completely different location. My current line-manager, as a case in point, works in Sheffield. He travels to Darlington a lot, I travel there sometimes and we have a lot of phone meetings. It’s a style of working which is new to me, but it works, and it means we have a lot more freedom to allow people to progress without forcing them to change location.
I’ve also been surprised by how much of my work actually has to do with the TiB FastStream. We get consulted, and have a lot more input on how the scheme runs than I realised. It’s good – it means that if something doesn’t seem quite right to you there is actually a chance to say that and be listened to!
I’m currently looking forward to my first placement finishing and finding out what my second placement will be. The TiB scheme gives placements of differing lengths depending on what they involve. I’ve been working with the Service Desk team since September, reviewing potential changes to how DfE provides internal technical support. It’s been really good, and has involved a lot of researching how other organisations do things and what might work for us. I like the flexibility of different placement terms – not all jobs and placements require a year or six months to get the most of them, but some will!