Press release

Award-winning graduate scheme looks for the next generation of civil service leaders

The Fast Stream civil service recruitment programme opens for applications today.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


The civil service is once again looking for university graduates with the ambition and talent to lead the civil service of the future as the Fast Stream recruitment programme opens for applications today.

The scheme is one of the most sought-after and competitive graduate programmes and attracted more than 21,000 applications last year. It consistently appears in the top 10 of The Times’ top 100 graduate employers and this year received the Best Selection and Assessment award from the Association of Graduate Recruiters.

Visit the Fast Stream website for information on the scheme, entry requirements and how to apply, or ask existing Fast Streamers about their experiences.

Britain is in a global race and only an exceptional civil service will be able to deliver the first class public services that people have come to expect. That’s why the Fast Stream is looking for the brightest and most talented candidates for the 4-year programme. They will build up a broad range of experience in different departments and receive the support needed to develop into leaders of a modern civil service.

Head of Civil Service Sir Bob Kerslake said:

The launch of the Fast Stream is a very exciting time and I am always overwhelmed by the number of enthusiastic, talented graduates who apply for a career with us.

Last year we received more than 21,000 Fast Stream applications which shows how highly regarded this opportunity is by graduates across the country.

The fact the scheme won the Best Selection and Assessment award this year is a real testament to the recruitment team we have here and the hard work they put into recruiting candidates with the skills we need to serve the country in the modern world.

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude said:

To win the global race, Britain needs the most talented, capable and ambitious people working in the civil service. From managing major projects to advising ministers on new policy ideas, the civil service offers a stimulating and rewarding career. I wish all the candidates good luck with their applications and look forward to meeting the next group of the brightest and the best.

In the first 2 years of their career, graduates undertake 4 placements in contrasting roles. This may include:

  • working in front-line service delivery such as a Jobcentre
  • developing project management skills on a major government project
  • working on government policies to stimulate growth, implement health and education reforms or shape foreign policy

An external secondment to a charity, private sector or the wider public sector may also be included in this period. This will be followed by 2 12-month postings to provide more in-depth experience and strengthen the skills built up in the previous 2 years.

Notes to editors

Overview of the Fast Stream schemes:

  • the Generalist Fast Stream is open to graduates of any discipline and is the commonest route to a Fast Stream career in the major government departments; it also includes options for the Diplomatic Service and the Houses of Parliament, and for scientists and engineers
  • the Analytical Fast Stream offers options for economists, statisticians, social researchers and operational researchers
  • the HR Fast Stream is for graduates with a proven interest in all areas of the HR profession
  • the Technology in Business Fast Stream is for graduates who understand and have a strong interest in technology
  • the European Fast Stream is for graduates seeking a permanent career in the EU institutions in Brussels
  • the Northern Ireland Fast Stream is for graduates wishing to make a career in the Northern Ireland Civil Service

The career path detailed in this press notice applies to the Generalist programme. The other schemes offer well-defined career paths tailored to their particular needs.

Applications for all schemes will be accepted from 2 September 2013 via the Fast Stream website. Applications close on 31 October 2013 with the exception of the Analytical Streams which close on 30 September and will have a second application window in February.

A new Fast Stream Website was launched this summer and provides all the information on the scheme, entry requirements and how to apply. As well as the application portal, the website includes profiles and blogs where existing Fast Streamers talk about their experiences.

A Fast Stream Facebook group also provides essential insights on starting a career in the civil service. Fast Streamers from different government departments go online on a daily basis to take questions from interested candidates.

Media enquiries

Published 4 September 2013