Civil Service

Civil Service Fast Stream

Civil Service Fast Stream

The Fast Stream is the Civil Service’s flagship graduate development programme. It aims to equip some of the brightest graduates with the knowledge, skills and experience they need to be the future civil service leaders. It is an investment in talent, intended to ensure that present and future governments are supported by an efficient and effective civil service with the right skill set and the versatility to respond to changing priorities.

The Fast Stream is widely recognised as one of the best graduate schemes in the country, ranked fifth in the Times Top 100 Graduate Employers in 2015-2016.

The Fast Stream aims to have the UK’s best and brightest graduates in Civil Service leadership roles within 3 to 5 years. It offers a wide range of supported learning and development, professional qualifications, formal training courses, mentoring and job-shadowing. The HR Fast Stream, for instance, is the only HR graduate scheme in the country to offer a master’s degree to all successful applicants.

It’s work with unique intellectual appeal. You’ll contribute to projects and issues that make a difference to everyone. There’s a clear career path to leadership and supported development with a graduate employer that consistently ranks high in the Times Top 100. Enjoy unrivalled career scope and variety, both during and after the Fast Stream. You’ll receive a permanent employment contract from the start, provided you meet our performance and development standards.

Fast Stream is committed to improving the delivery of public services for everyone in society. To do this effectively, we need to attract and retain the very best talent from diverse communities. This means we can access a wider talent pool, achieve strong employee engagement and strengthen the link between government policy and delivery.

Just as importantly, you’ll have learnt things that simply can’t be taught. You may have picked up invaluable negotiating skills from colleagues at a high level meeting, discovered how best to work with Ministers or senior officials, or gained insights first-hand from personal interaction with the public.

We are proud to have put in place many diversity strategies to support the attraction, awareness and selection of talented young people from diverse backgrounds.

We are accredited to operate a Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS). This means applicants with a disability need only meet the minimum qualifying criteria for their chosen scheme(s) and may choose not to be assessed for the first stage of the assessment process. If you require reasonable adjustments to allow you to complete the assessment process, then you will be given the opportunity to indicate and discuss this when you apply.

Case Studies

  • Name: Kalada Bruce


I joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the Diplomatic Service Fast Stream. I knew little about the Fast Stream until I joined the Department for Education on the Summer Diversity Internship Programme. I ended up spending a year there working on how we ensure the next generation is better at maths. It was the perfect introduction to the Civil Service as I had studied the subject for my degree.

Among other things, I provided the advice to Number 10 that allowed the then-Prime Minister to make an important education policy announcement. It was my job to take our then minister’s aims through to fruition, via the experts and the interested members of Parliament or the public. It becomes easier with experience, but there’s no substitute for working as part of a team. The generosity and care of my colleagues was a huge influence behind me applying and to make my stay in the Civil Service permanent. For most of 2012, before I started on the Fast Stream, I worked in the Government’s Efficiency and Reform Group, working on how we tackle the £20 billion plus debt owed to the taxpayer as efficiently and fairly as possible.

On the face of things, it doesn’t sound interesting, but believe it or not, it was. It showed me just how wide-ranging the Civil Service is. I still can’t think of another organisation with so many different roles to choose from, and I’d say that every job I’ve had has topped the previous one, in one way or another. My first job on the Fast Stream was a desk officer on Brazil. After a year, I found myself working on how to improve evidence-based policy making across the office, and a few months into that role, I was asked to move to my current role in private office. My job now is to ensure the minister’s ambitions are realised by our policy leads and diplomats, just as I, myself, tried to do back at the Department of Education five years ago. Except this time, it’s about our productive relations with countries or the safety of British nationals abroad.

I have the privilege of working with colleagues based around the world on these issues, from our newest recruits to the most senior and experienced diplomats, and all the time watching the minister balance his responsibilities to his constituents, his party and Parliament. My next move is likely to be overseas to work at one of our embassies or high commissions, potentially learning a foreign language. That’s perhaps the greatest benefit of the particular scheme I am on. But in spite of the stereotypes, from what I’ve seen so far, far from dryly applying international relations theory, it will be about building relationships and influencing the right people to ensure the UK remains a safe place to live with a stable economy.

Training & Profiles

We offer meaningful benefits and accredited training, including widely recognised Postgraduate certificates and professional qualifications.

Everything about the Fast Stream is designed to help you develop the experience and skills you will need to be an effective future leader. Exactly which department, or departments, you work in will depend on a range of factors, including the particular Fast Stream you are in. We take account of personal preferences, but wherever you are based you can expect outstanding development opportunities.

More and more, Fast Streamers take on roles involving direct contact with the public. This is not only an opportunity to make a real difference, it also offers a great insight into the wider policy-making process. You will see first-hand the impacts of a policy and the effect policy can have on people’s lives.

This is a leadership development programme, and responsibility comes quickly. We make sure you’re ready for it, beginning with an induction that will introduce you both to the Fast Stream and to the Civil Service, and will help set your career in context. That’s just the first step however.

Civil Service Learning in partnership with Civil Service Resourcing has created a dedicated Fast Stream learning and development pathway that will cover your time as a Fast Streamer

Our training and development package includes:

  • A combination of formal training courses and on-the-job learning.
  • Regular feedback and performance reviews to inform your personal development.
  • A mentor or another Fast Streamer to support you through your development.
  • Time spent at learning events, e-learning, volunteering, job-shadowing and more.
  • The chance for supported study towards a range of professional qualifications (Postgraduate certificates, CIPD, CIMA and others).

At the end of your programme, you’ll have developed skills and knowledge in a wide range of important areas, such as people management, commercial awareness, financial management, project and programme management, change management and digital delivery.

Just as importantly, you’ll have learnt things that simply can’t be taught. You may have picked up invaluable negotiating skills from colleagues at a high level meeting, discovered how best to work with Ministers or senior officials, or gained insights first-hand from personal interaction with the public.

  • HR Fast Stream at Civil Service Fast Stream

    After applying online I completed several psychometric tests, including verbal and numeracy. Following this I completed an E-tray exercise where you given a fake email account and answer emails based on a fictitious scenario. If you are

  • Civil Service Fast Stream Graduate Talent Programme - Finance at Civil Service Fast Stream

    Before even getting to the assessment centre there was numerous online tests that I had to complete. This included the usual numerical, personality and verbal reasoning. If you pass these then you get invited to complete a e-tray online which takes

  • European Fast Stream at Civil Service Fast Stream

    The INTERVIEW itself was one on one and competency-based. It lasted 40 minutes. Questions included one on my present employment, one on what attracted me to a civil service career, and one on what the biggest challenge would be if I joined and how I

The Fast Stream encourages and develops graduates who want to give something back to society. So before your career with us begins, there are five options you may wish to consider.

Teach First:

Teach First is an education charity working in partnership with others to end educational inequality. Young people in our schools need exceptional leaders, who can bring out the best in them and help them become successful adults, whatever their circumstances.

For more information about Teach First:

Entrepreneur First

Entrepreneur First is Europe’s leading early-stage investor in deep technology companies. They help suitably talented individuals build high growth technology start-ups, with funding available before you even have a team or a developed idea.

For more information about Entrepreneur First:


Frontline recruits high achieving graduates into children’s social work, one of Britain’s toughest and most rewarding professions. You’ll develop social work skills through intensive academic and on-the-job training.

For more information about Frontline:

Lead First

Lead First is the opportunity to complete an intensive leadership development course, before spending up to a year gaining experience in a variety of Junior Officer roles with the British Army.

Please see online for full eligibility criteria:

Police Now

Police Now is an innovative, new leadership development programme, putting exceptional graduates on the policing frontline in challenged communities around the UK.

To apply please follow this link: