Central Departments encompasses every major government department except the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The range of work open to Central Departments Fast Streamers is vast: health, the environment, education, transport, the economy, justice, industry, agriculture, defence, welfare, taxation, overseas development and much, much more.
You'll be tackling issues at the top of the national agenda or driving forward initiatives that change society for the better, and you'll be using your skills and your intellect to provide high-quality services for the public or managing essential functions like finance, procurement and IT that enable your department to operate efficiently.
Given the enormous range of possible roles in so many departments, there’s a risk of Fast Streamers ending up with very different, or over-specialised, skills, experience and knowledge. But we want all Fast Streamers to develop a comparable portfolio of experience, so that they’re equipped to operate in a wide range of roles later. The Central Departments option therefore offers a standard four-year programme designed to make sure this happens. In your first two years you will undertake a series of six month postings intended to give you a broad base of experience. During this time, regardless of where you actually work, you will be employed by an organisation called Civil Service Resourcing (CSR), which ensures that the Civil Service is equipped with the people it needs to perform with maximum effectiveness. Your personal development will be overseen by a CSR Talent Manager, who will be on hand to advise you and facilitate appropriate career moves.
During these first two years, you will experience at least four of the following areas of activity:
- operational delivery (providing front-line services direct to the public)
- policy development (such as work in a Bill team, or in a minister’s private office)
- corporate services (to help your department function efficiently as an organisation)
- people management
- commercial awareness
- financial management
- project and programme management
You will experience different departmental cultures, and one of your postings will probably be in a different part of the country. You can also expect a short secondment to the small and medium enterprise sector or to a charity. This frequent change of roles is an essential part of your personal development, since you will regularly face new challenges and learn from deliberately contrasting situations and objectives.
At the end of your first two years, assuming that your progress has been satisfactory, you will transfer from CSR to another department which will employ you from then on, and where you will undertake two longer postings occupying the second two years of the programme. Whereas your first two years are about breadth of experience, these longer postings will give you more depth. Subject to a final assessment of your portfolio of experience, you will then have successfully completed the programme.
What are we looking for?
To apply, you will need to have achieved or be predicted to achieve at the end of the current academic year, at least a 2:2 degree As well as having the key competencies we look for in all our Fast Streamers, you must have a genuine interest in pursuing a career in the Fast Stream.