The Civil Service Fast Stream is now open for candidates hoping to start in 2017. The scheme is aimed at final year students and recent graduates who want a career in the civil service and it is one of the largest graduate schemes in the UK.
This year, the Fast Stream is offering no fewer than 15 different schemes, including the popular Generalist scheme, as well as more specific schemes which cater for almost all subjects studied at university. In other words, if you’re a final-year student, and are expected to achieve a 2.1, there’s almost certainly something you can apply for.
What’s more, this year the online application process has been changed in an attempt to support applicants from more diverse backgrounds (currently only 4% of Fast Stream applicants come from disadvantaged backgrounds compared to 24% of the graduate population.) Consequently, the verbal and numerical reasoning tests which have been used in previous years have been replaced with situational judgement tests which are intended to provide a more accurate assessment of candidates’ ability levels.
Nonetheless, the Fast Stream is still extremely competitive: in past years, only around 5% of candidates who applied were offered a position, and it can be a dispiriting experience for able candidates who make it a fair way through the process only to be told that they are ‘unsuccessful’ at a late stage.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t apply to the Fast Stream if you are considering it: the competency tests which are used in the preliminary stages of the process are great experience in themselves, and if you make it to one of the selection days you’ll get the opportunity to participate in observed group activities, written exercises and a rigorous individual interview.
Of course, it’s possible that you’re exactly what the Civil Service recruiters are looking for. However, if you don’t make it to the end of the process but still want a career in the Civil Service, don’t be disheartened. There are still plenty of avenues into the public sector which do not involve the Fast Stream. These include working in local government, for an MP, and in various government departments. You can search for non-Fast Stream graduate vacancies here:
However, your first port of call might still be the Fast Stream. In which case, go to http://www.faststream.gov.uk/ for more information. The deadline is 30th November.
- If you are a first year student, apply to EDIP (spring week)
- For penultimate year students, apply to SDIP (summer internship)
- If you are a final year student or a graduate, to apply for the Fast Stream
You might also be interested in the QMUL Fast Stream Facebook account: