Working for FCO

Our careers for generalist and specialist staff: recruitment policies, university visits, current vacancies, work experience and internship schemes.

The FCO is the UK government department responsible for protecting and promoting British interests around the world, through the FCO in London and our network of 270 diplomatic posts in 168 countries and territories.

We employ a diverse range of talented people capable of delivering to a high standard, often under pressure and sometimes in difficult places. We want the modern FCO to reflect the very best of 21st century Britain and encourage applications from all suitably qualified applicants irrespective of background or circumstances. Our Diversity and Equality Report 2016 includes data on the equality impact of the Foreign Office’s employment practices and activities.

In return, we guarantee a fascinating, personally rewarding career at the centre of world events. We regularly score highly in surveys of ‘employers graduates would most like to work for’. The Civil Service has moved up to 2nd place in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 2017-18.

Our staff

The FCO employs around 12,600 staff around the world. Roughly a third is made up of UK-based British Civil Servants whose careers typically include work in the UK and postings overseas; and around two thirds are employed locally by a British Diplomatic mission overseas (such as an Embassy, High Commission, or Consulate). Applicants for these roles should be based in that country and usually need to be able to work in the main local language. For information on our local staff vacancies, please visit the web page for the country you are interested in working in.

Recruitment policy: generalists and specialists

All appointments to the FCO are made in strict accordance with the key recruitment principles of the Civil Service Commission.

Recruitment into the FCO’s UK-based workforce is normally either as a generalist (i.e. into the Diplomatic or Home Civil Service cadres where staff rotate between a variety of roles, including overseas), or as a specialist (i.e. taking up a specific role requiring specialist skills, e.g. research analysts, lawyers).

The Civil Service-wide recruitment freeze introduced in May 2010 limits new appointments to frontline and business-critical jobs only, which normally means specialist roles. This has generally restricted FCO generalist recruitment permitted under the freeze to the Diplomatic Service Fast Stream. Diplomatic Service Economists are also recruited through the Government Economic Service Fast Stream.

Visits to universities

Our staff visited a number of universities across the UK in spring 2017 as part of the FCO University Roadshow, to explain what we do and how rewarding a career in the FCO can be. Please follow our @fcocareers Twitter account (#BeForeignOffice and #FastStream) for updates on the FCO careers and also look out for details about events taking place close to you from your university careers service.

Current vacancies

Casework Team Desk Officer

Joining our Global Response Centre (GRC), which provides 24/7 support for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in London and overseas, you will provide consular assistance and advice to relatives and friends of British nationals abroad. You will be the first point of contact – both on the telephone and in writing – for enquiries from members of the public in the UK and provide prompt, accurate advice as you guide, support and recommend options to customers. You will also be responsible for consular casework, correspondence with third parties including MPs, as well as draft press lines, ministerial updates and briefings. You will contribute to team learning on consular assistance, identifying gaps in knowledge and areas for improvement. This is an exciting opportunity to work at the very heart of the FCO service.

You will be resilient and reliable, good with people and a great team player, with excellent interpersonal skills and a talent for giving great customer service. You have good attention to detail, a high level of IT proficiency and the ability to pick things up quickly. Experience in a customer service role would be useful.

Find out more about the Casework Team Desk Officer and apply by midnight on Monday 9 April 2018.

Workplace Planning and Implementation Manager

In our highly commended Facilities Management Client Unit, you will work in partnership with our Facilities Management provider to arrange allocating, using and planning of our UK office space. The management information you provide will allow important planning decisions to be made. You will coordinate our internal service providers to deliver accommodation changes, keep all record drawings and asset registers fully up to date, and act as a single point of contact for all detailed or sensitive customer requests. You will be responsible for the management of premises, contracts, resources and stakeholders. This is an excellent opportunity to join a fantastic team and help deliver our ambitious accommodation strategy.

As well as experience in delivering facilities management services, you will also have some management experience in this area; a talent for space planning in an office, alongside a working knowledge of AutoCAD or similar.

Find out more about the Workplace Planning and Implementation Manager and apply by midnight on Monday 9 April 2018.

Assistant Facilities Manager

We are looking for a skilled Assistant Facilities Manager who can keep our infrastructure running smoothly, to continue making a positive international impact. You will be responsible for monitor the performance of our incumbent Facilities Management (FM) provider, ensuring that they deliver the support and services we expect, measure them against key indicators and legal requirements, raising or resolving issues and driving improvements. You will help manage one of our most important operational relationships, whilst looking after one of the Government’s most interesting and, in some aspects, unique sites and projects.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • engaging daily with our FM provider and establishing strong relationships with the FCO as well as the FM team
  • identifying and meeting our community’s evolving needs
  • reporting regularly on operational delivery and auditing completed work to assess compliance and performance

Find out more about the Assistant Facilities Manager and apply by midnight on Monday 26 March 2018.

Graduate Internship

The UK’s relationship with the rest of the world has rarely been so complex, or so interesting. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has teams working on everything from crisis in Syria, to helping British nationals in distress overseas, to creating new opportunities for British business, particularly in the fast growing economies, as well as managing a global network of posts overseas.

This is a unique opportunity to be right at the heart of the FCO’s work and to understand what it takes to run an effective global organisation. You will participate fully in the work of the FCO department into which you are placed and have an opportunity to influence how policy is made and delivered. Your placement will offer you an in-depth insight into the work and give you the opportunities to learn more about, and experience, the wider FCO and to develop your skills. This position is most suitable for recent graduates looking for general FCO work experience, not specific career related experience or experience relevant to ongoing academic studies.

Find out more about the Graduate Internship and apply by midnight on Monday 26 March 2018.

Local staff vacancies overseas

If you are looking for information on local staff vacancies at our offices overseas please visit the web page for the particular country you are interested in working in.

Work experience

The FCO aims to recruit a talented and diverse workforce which reflects the society we serve. In order to generate interest in FCO careers from a broader applicant base, we offer a range of work experience opportunities each year. We hope that by giving individuals from a range of backgrounds the opportunity to sample working at the FCO they may consider the FCO as a future employer, as well as gaining beneficial work experience.

Alongside our own Graduate Internship, we offer placements under schemes run by other government departments (such as the Civil Service Fast Stream and the Department for Works and Pensions (DWP). Our work experience opportunities, which are paid, are mainly focused on attracting individuals from backgrounds that are currently under-represented in our workforce, and on those who bring skills which we require to achieve our objectives. All work experience placements are awarded strictly on merit, after a competitive application process. In order to ensure our opportunities are accessible to all those who are eligible, we do not offer any work experience opportunities to individuals on an ad-hoc basis. We do not have the resources to acknowledge or respond to speculative applications.

Our annual programme of schemes is reviewed each year; details of the FCO’s central scheme are published on this page. The application windows for each of the government schemes vary, so you should check the relevant website for further details.

You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In or sign up to our RSS feeds.

The FCO’s external recruitment campaigns are run separately from any work experience or internship scheme: work experience does not in any way guarantee future employment with the FCO. Our recruitment for permanent employment is merit-based in strict accordance with the key recruitment principles of the Civil Service Commission. Current or former interns do not receive any preferential treatment in the selection processes.

FCO internship schemes

In 2017 we offered work experience placements under the following schemes:

  1. The FCO’s Graduate Internship programme for graduates from any background interested in developing a career in international relations (up to 9 months placements for 45 graduates, from September 2017 to June 2018). Interns were recruited in Spring 2017.

  2. The Fast Stream Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP) for undergraduates from diverse backgrounds in their penultimate or final year. Candidates must be from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) background or be socio-economically disadvantaged or have a disability (a 6-9 week summer placement for 25 students). Recruitment began in autumn 2016.

  3. The Civil Service Fast Stream Early Diversity Internship Programme (EDIP). The scheme gives first year undergraduates from diverse backgrounds a 1-week taster of a career in the Civil Service. Candidates must be from a BAME background, or be socio-economically disadvantaged or have a disability (1-week spring placement for 5 students). Recruitment began in autumn 2016.

  4. The Civil Service Work Experience Programme run by Civil Service Resourcing (CSR), supporting high achieving students from low income backgrounds seeking to reach top level universities and professions (a 1-week placement for 5 school age (14-15) students). CSR works directly with local schools to arrange placements through the year.

  5. The Government Economic Service summer student placement scheme aimed at economic students who are seriously considering a career in the Government Economic Service (GES) after graduation (an 8-week summer placement for 4 students). Recruitment began in autumn 2016.

  6. The Government Economic Service sandwich student placement scheme aimed at economics students who are seriously considering a career in the Government Economic Service (GES) after graduation (a 12-month student placement for 5 students). Recruitment began in autumn 2016.

  7. The Movement to Work Scheme providing young people who are not in employment, education or training with work experience. (2 week placement for 5 people). DWP work with local job centres to arrange placements throughout the year.

You may be interested in reading comments from some of our summer interns: Quotes from summer interns (MS Word Document, 23.6KB)

International secondments

The UK supports international efforts to prevent violent conflict, to resolve existing conflicts, and to build peace in post-conflict situations.

In support of this, the FCO seconds civilian experts and police (serving and retired officers) to international missions run by the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN) and Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Find out more about international secondments with the FCO, for serving and retired police, and civilian experts.