This is the first edition of my blog, and I am hoping it will throw further cold water on the myth that there is any such thing as a ‘typical’ Fast Streamer. I am currently half way into my first posting with the Department of Health, but as opposed to being fresh out of university I graduated 5 years ago as a mature student and have a total of 3 children to my name, ranging from 13 years to 18 months old.
I think in terms of getting through the intensive and demanding Fast Stream recruitment process having some post-graduate experience both inside and outside of the work-place was more of a help than a hindrance. The diplomatic skills gained through lengthy negotiations with petulant children were probably just as valuable as the skills and experiences developed during my previous career in immigration law in demonstrating key competencies and I think increasingly, candidates are finding it beneficial to be able to demonstrate something extra during the recruitment process. Whilst this undoubtedly can be gained during a full extra-curricular life during university, I think it is far easier having some concrete post-graduate experience to draw on and any additional experience you have, however it was gained, will also be a great support in terms of actually delivering the business once you have made it through recruitment.
My first posting is within the Global Health Team of the Department of Health where I hold the post of Bilateral Relations Development Manager within the Bilateral Team. This is a fascinating and fast-paced position involving strategic engagement with priority countries over health. A typical day may involve preparing ministerial briefings and submissions, co-ordinating inward and outward international visits or working on the specifics of collaboration with a particular partner country. However, the job doesn’t entail being part of the international jet-set and I’m actually based in Leeds which again may not make me your ‘typical’ Fast Streamer. Our team operates a split site between Leeds and London and I generally travel down to London once or twice a fortnight as necessary. Being based in Leeds enables me to work close to where I live and importantly where my parents live, who as you can imagine are invaluable sources of support when it comes to childcare logistics! On the subject of managing a Fast Stream position whilst juggling family life, I will return in my next post.