What is the Civil Service Fast Stream?
Governments might be made up of great leaders, but behind the scenes are hundreds of thousands of civil servants who keep our country running like clockwork, even during times of transition such as a general election or cabinet shakeup.
The Civil Service relies on a steady stream of intelligent graduates to ensure it continues to meet the needs of society, which is why the government has poured a lot of resources into making its Fast Stream an enviable graduate programme.
Flying high in the ranks of the Times Top 100 Graduate Employers, the Civil Service Fast Stream gives you a leg-up towards a career as a civil servant. Placements in key departments will allow you to gain valuable skills and experience over a period of 12 months to 4 years, depending on the programme.
Why could it be for you?
The public sector is a popular career path for graduates, giving you the opportunity to exert a massive influence on the government, policy and communities, with the comfort of knowing you have a job for life – if you want it, that is!
For graduates passionate about pursuing a career in this sector, the Fast Stream offers exactly that: a fast-track into the Civil Service with almost a guaranteed job at the end. So you can skip a lot of the pen-pushing involved in working your way up the ladder, and prove your worth in a graduate programme that will truly invest in your future.
The types of Fast Stream schemes available
Got a keen interest in a particular branch of the public sector? There are plenty of routes to choose from. Here are just a few:
Government Statistical Service – Facts are a powerful policy-shaping tool. Play your part in producing government statistics as you collect, analyse and publish key data.
Finance – Money makes the world go round, and finance civil servants shape the policies that determine how the public’s finances are spent.
Commercial – Support Great British businesses with a programme that focuses on policy and service delivery in the commercial realm.
Diplomatic Service – Travel the globe as you tackle some of the biggest issues facing the world today as a diplomat.
Digital, Data & Technology – Join the frontier of the digital revolution with a graduate programme that focuses on making technology accessible and affordable for all.
Key skills the civil service is looking for
Communication: Written and verbal communication comes easily to you; presenting your thoughts clearly and personably is second nature.
Organisation: You take a logical approach to organisation, whether it’s managing your time, a project or large amounts of data.
Analytical: You enjoy interpreting data and information, reading between the lines to determine trends and key issues.
Initiative: You don’t need a nudge to make effective use of your time; a strong sense of initiative ensures you’re always productive.
Team worker: Collaborating with others appeals to you, working across several departments to deliver results.
Learn about other skills and qualities you need for the public sector.
5 things you need to apply
If the Civil Service Fast Stream sounds like the right choice for you, here are a couple of things you’ll need to apply:
- A minimum 2:2 degree; most schemes accept any subject, although some require a 2:1 and postgraduate qualifications.
- Evidence of where you’ve been over the past 3 years, including any time you spent abroad.
- Proof of identity to support your Fast Stream application.
- Willingness to travel to London for the 1-day Fast Stream Assessment Centre (FACS)
- Strong group, leadership, writing and interview skills to pass the FACS.
Browse our advice page for lots of useful information about applying for graduate programmes.
Moving on up
As a launch pad for careers in the public sector, it’s no wonder so many graduates apply every year to join the Civil Service Fast Stream. If you think you’ve got what it takes to become a civil servant, most applications run from September to November.
Find the latest public sector and government graduate schemes using our handy application deadline page so you'll never miss a thing.