1 HR Fast Stream Graduate Programme
2 02 Contents Welcome p.03 What is the HR Fast Stream Graduate Programme? p.04 What are we looking for? p.07 Your Fast Stream career path p.08 Location p.09 Profiles p.10 Training and career development p.12 Starting salary and benefits p.13 Online application and selection process p.14
3 03 Welcome Climate change? Energy? Food prices? Counter-terrorism? These are just some of the issues your ideas can help tackle when you re working as part of the HR Fast Stream Graduate Programme. Why? Because the Civil Service has an impact on almost every aspect of life in the UK and beyond. With a 490,000-strong workforce, made up of people from diverse backgrounds and representing almost every skill and profession, it can offer a range of HR challenges that no other UK employer can match. HR can make a difference to the way the Civil Service does business. We need to deliver increasingly complex services with ever diminishing resources. We need to deliver our HR services efficiently, develop effective leaders and build a capable and flexible workforce. We need our employees to be enabled and engaged. We need a Civil Service drawn from the best talents throughout society, reflecting the diversity of people, talent and experience that has made our country so successful. As a future HR leader of the Civil Service, you will have the opportunity to tackle all this and more.
4 04 What is the HR Fast Stream Graduate Programme? The Fast Stream is an accelerated training and development graduate programme for people who have the potential to become senior managers within the Civil Service. It is ranked among the top five Times Top 100 Graduate Employers. The HR Fast Stream is a demanding, three-year programme, which offers you the opportunity to train as an HR professional. It consists of two 18-month placements in varied but equally challenging HR roles. This could mean supporting allocation of lottery grants, issuing passports, helping families with lower incomes or people back to work. The aim is to prepare you for a range of senior HR roles. At the same time, you will be taking part in a structured learning and development programme, and will be expected to work towards achieving chartered membership of CIPD (for which we provide full support). In return, we expect you to perform effectively and to a high level in your work placements, act as an advocate of the programme by modelling HR professionalism, work towards achieving chartered membership of CIPD and fully engage and participate in the learning and development offered to you so that you continually display the potential expected of a trainee. Given the size and scope of the Civil Service, the possibilities for your long-term professional career are practically limitless. Think of any HR job, anywhere in the world, in any organisation and it will be done somewhere in HR in the Civil Service.
7 07 What are we looking for? There is no such thing as a typical HR Fast Streamer. Successful candidates come from a diverse range of backgrounds, and may have studied for any kind of degree. There are, however, some key competencies that we look for in all our HR Fast Streamers. The ability to think flexibly is important. Not everything you do will be headline news. It s important that you can give as much focus to the smaller details as you do to the big-picture issues. Sitting on the fence is not an option for a Fast Streamer. You ll need to be someone who can take the lead on decision-making based on evidence, and handle all the pressure and responsibility that comes with it. This means being proactive and having the ability to think on your feet valuing and respecting each person s perspective. You ll be working with some of the brightest and most talented people in the country. It s important that you all get the best out of each other. That s why the ability to build trust and develop relationships is vital. The ability to make an impact is also essential. We look for people who are lucid, persuasive, confident and articulate. Whether it s a high-level meeting, a large presentation or a conversation with a disgruntled customer, you must be able to express yourself and defend your position clearly and succinctly. Being able to think innovatively is also important, particularly as you may be asked to consider doing something new, or to investigate how things can be further improved upon to be more efficient and cost-effective. We want you to get the most out of all the opportunities on offer. That s why it s essential that you have a good level of self-awareness and can acknowledge your own personal and professional development needs. You ll be expected to learn a huge amount during your time on the programme. So it s important that you recognise where additional support and development might be needed, and that you make the most of all the training we offer. As an HR Fast Streamer, we want people who have an interest in all areas of the HR profession and are motivated to have a career in HR. Your interest in HR will be tested at the final selection board.
8 08 Your Fast Stream career path Through your two 18-month placements, you will be involved in challenging and meaningful HR work across three broad professional areas. These areas are policy delivery, operational delivery and corporate services. Policy obviously, involves the formulation and evaluation of Civil Service people policies. It requires research, analysis and close collaboration with stakeholders. An example of this is developing new employee policies around reward and recognition package or People Performance policies. Operational delivery is about putting the citizen at the heart of the service and providing high quality and efficient public services. An example of this is working as an HR Business Partner supporting operational delivery by implementing people and workforce management strategies. Corporate services would include Policy Centres for Expertise, Shared Services and Finance Change Programmes. An example of this is supporting implementation of a major change programme, e.g. transforming customer contacts, by working with stakeholders to identify the impacts on people and developing or implementing solutions. Exposure to these three professional areas should provide you with a solid foundation for your career. By the end of your placements, you will have gained insight into the department you are working for along with valuable HR experience, knowledge and skills. You will also have an opportunity to become expert in a particular field of HR.
9 09 Location The Civil Service has roles throughout the country. Fast Streamers are expected to be mobile and work wherever their departments need them. Remember too that in order to gain valuable experience of operational delivery, you may well have to work in more than one location. Fast Streamers are increasingly being deployed to operational and corporate services work away from large London headquarters.
10 10 Profiles Judy Little It was the structured learning and development opportunities of the HR Fast Stream that Judy Little was most attracted to. Judy, who already had several years of HR experience under her belt, was looking for a chance to seriously develop and progress while carrying out meaningful work. She hasn t been disappointed. In addition to there being a structured development plan for all the HR graduates, my individual learning needs are taken seriously and I m constantly being stretched and developed. My development is supported by my line manager, during meetings with my mentor and as part of a self-managed learning group. This development coupled with meaningful work placements should equip me for future HR leadership roles. Judy is currently four months into her first placement, working as Race and Gender Policy Lead within the Diversity and Equality Centre of Expertise. So far, I have been busy promoting a new job sharing website, which will give people in the Civil Service the opportunity to find their ideal job sharing partners online. I ve been responsible for quality assuring new learning and development products. I m also taking forward recommendations from our equal pay audit and working as an Investors in People assessor. As you can see, I have already been able to work on a number of varied and interesting projects (despite my short tenure), and I m looking forward to numerous other challenges that are in the pipeline.
11 11 Rob Henderson Rob Henderson, a Durham modern languages graduate, had worked in a few different HR roles before applying for the Fast Stream, including one with the MOD. It was my first real job after university. I realised straight away that I loved HR. It was the idea of working with so many different kinds of people that really appealed to me. He is currently eight months into his first Fast Stream placement in the Department for Work and Pensions, working within Jobcentre Plus. My role is to support the Regional HR Business Partner for London. On a day-to-day basis, this involves working with the rest of the team on whatever the current projects may be. At the moment, for example, we have a lot of recruitment work to do. As one of the managers within the team (I manage one other member of staff), I also take part in our strategic leadership meetings and cover for senior colleagues when they are on holiday. From September, the Civil Service is going to pay for me to work towards a CIPD qualification. They re also giving me every Wednesday off to attend classes and study. The fact that you can combine on-the-job experience with the opportunity to gain a recognised HR qualification is one of the real benefits of the HR scheme. But it s not just the development opportunities that have impressed Rob so far. The welcome I received from the programme and colleagues has been fantastic; I felt part of the team from day one and I am very happy in the role. I ve also been able to get involved in activities outside of work, and I am now captain of Cygnet, the Civil Service rowing club.
12 12 Training and career development Responsibility comes quickly in the Fast Stream. So learning has to happen at a fast pace to. We expect all HR Fast Stream graduates to gain chartered membership of CIPD. Your line manager will agree with you the best way of achieving it (depending on your existing qualifications and experience), and we ll provide you with our full support throughout. At the same time, you will be going through a structured learning and development programme designed to help you become an expert at your role. This includes a series of core skills workshops as well as a number of specialist business-focused events. As an HR Fast Streamer, you will have access to self-managed learning groups and an informal graduate network, where you will you be able to share your knowledge and experience with other people and receive information and guidance to support you further on the scheme. You will also benefit from professional development advice and access to senior managers who can act as mentors and coaches. To support people s continuing professional development, we are currently building the Civil Service HR Academy. This will provide career guidance, development programmes and the opportunity to join communities of practice.
13 13 Starting salary and benefits Starting salaries vary across departments. In London, they usually range between 25,000 and 30,000. Different salary scales may be applicable in the regions. Pay increases are based purely on performance. You ll receive 22 to 25 days holiday per year plus 10.5 days public and privilege holidays. You will also have access to a pension scheme, costing a maximum of 3.5% of your salary. A good work-life balance is another potential benefit. Some departments offer flexible and part-time working arrangements, job share opportunities and career breaks, as well as crèches, holiday play schemes and childcare assistance. Other benefits may include season ticket loans and sports and social facilities. Again, your specific package will depend on which department you join. You will be provided with full support to gain a chartered membership of CIPD.
14 14 Online application and selection process All applications should be made via our website: Making it into the HR Fast Stream won t be easy. You will need to go through a demanding application and selection process that may last up to seven months. However, we do try to make things as transparent as possible. We will keep you informed and provide you with feedback at every stage of the process, and there s an online messaging service to guide you as you go along. Before you start, you ll need to check that you re eligible. The minimum requirement is a 2:2 degree in any subject. Further information can be found on the website. It is important the Civil Service reflects the society it serves, which is why we welcome applications from all sections of the community. This goes for all vacancies across the Civil Service. For further information about the importance of HR across the Civil Service, please visit There are several stages to the application process:
16 Economist Fast Stream For further information on the scheme, visit Graduate Fast Stream For further information on the scheme, visit Statistician Fast Stream For further information on the scheme, visit Technology in Business Fast Stream For further information on the scheme, visit To apply online, please visit For other Civil Service opportunities, visit Alternatively, separate brochures are available from or by telephoning