2Why a career in the Diplomatic Service? Challenging work that often makes a difference to people’s livesVery early responsibilityExperience a great variety of workExcellent training and support
3Who we areThe lead government department handling foreign affairs working in two key areas:Foreign policyService delivery overseas
4What we do We deal on a daily basis with: Climate change Human rights Helping British citizens abroadConflict resolutionForced marriagesTrade and investmentCounter terrorismand so much more…
5Entry routes Policy Entrants Administrative Grade Recruitment Recruitment of specialists
6Affect lives – work with Government The Diplomatic Service policy entrant - a demanding graduate entry point into the Foreign and Commonwealth OfficeAn opportunity to work directly with members of the public and government ministersCould you make a difference to national life, turn policy into reality?Points to make:The Fast Stream scheme contributes to succession planning in the Civil ServiceIt seeks to attract the best and the demanding entry process reflects thisThe work is varied and worthwhile, and carries early responsibility - please give examples from your own experience
7Graduate Fast Stream www.faststream.gov.uk Seven options:Diplomatic ServiceEuropean Fast StreamCentral DepartmentsScience & EngineeringHouse of CommonsEconomistsStatisticiansPoints to make:Central Departments include all government departments except the FCO.SEFS does not provide opportunities for the practical application of science, it is about the ability to communicate complex scientific/technical information to lay people, the ability to be an intelligent customer when purchasing, a general facility with numbers, project management skills and a scientific approach to problems.HoC require an understanding of and feeling for the role of a politically impartial cadre supporting the parliamentary process of scrutiny, legislation and debate. Fast Streamers choosing this option will find themselves working in a multi-party, confrontational Parliamentary institution with its own distinctive ethos, pressures and working patterns.Competition for places in FCO are particularly competitive.Diplomatic Service, HoC and SEFS options all have a Final Selection Board, post success at the Assessment Centre
8The Diplomatic Service Options: Graduate Fast StreamThe Diplomatic Service Options:The Diplomatic Service*EconomistsPoints to make:*In order to select the FCO/Diplomatic Service in the Fast Stream applicants must select Diplomatic Service as their first choiceIt is also possible to become an FCO/DS Economist through the Fast StreamCompetition for places in FCO are particularly competitive.Diplomatic Service has a Final Selection Board, post success at the Assessment Centre
9What you will do First two training years in London One year doing Policy delivery workOne year doing Service delivery workThen abroad in one of 200 embassies, high commissions or consulates around the globe for two to three years mainly focusing on policyPoints to make:Policy Delivery work examples: Handling our relations with other countries, dealing with security and defence issues, working to improve human rights abroadService Delivery work example: Working in our consular department helping distressed British nationalsAs a fast streamer you’ll spend about half your career in London and half overseas. When planning your overseas posting you’ll be able to state preferences against a list of available jobs. We’ll try to match your requests with the needs of the office, and what’s more we’ll support you all the way.
10Training and Career Development A personal training programmeMentoring and buddyingCoaching and e-learningOn-the-job trainingSelf studyNational School of GovernmentPoints to make:Training in Modern Diplomacy, EU Institutions etc…Please provide examples from your own training experiences to date to show how you have benefitedIf interested, there is a link from the FS website to the National School of Government website where course details can be viewed
11Benefits Starting salary from around £29,000 Choice of pension costing a maximum of 3.5% of salary25 days holiday, plus 10.5 public holidaysFlexible working widely availableOpportunities to work internationallyPoints to make:Early responsibility and a chance to make a difference can also be viewed as benefits, please illustrate with personal FS examples.Salaries do vary between departments, who are responsible for their own pay agreements
12Entry Requirements A 2:2 degree in any discipline* All Diplomatic Service posts are open to UK nationals onlyPoints to make:*Economists – 2:1 in economics or degree with a least half economics or Masters in EconomicsResidency Requirements:You don't need language skills to apply, but if you have them, that's great. We're particularly interested in people who speak Languages the FCO considers to be a priority like Arabic, Farsi, Dari, Mandarin, Japanese and Russian.Other skills that the FCO is looking for include experience of change management, economics, finance, procurement, accountancy, contract management and project management.Due to the nature of the work undertaken by the FCO we have certain eligibility criteria. All positions require security clearance and therefore we are only able to consider you for employment if you are a British citizen.
13Security Vetting All our permanent staff must pass Developed Vetting Tests you are not susceptible to pressure from other organisationsYour finances, criminal record and work and residency history will be checkedStrict no drugs policyBaseline check will be carried out when applicant is applying. They will have to submit identity documents multiple times.Developed vetting starts when the job offer has been accepted. Takes 3-6 months.Recommend collating address history, work reference history, family details as soon as possible.Drugs policy is as MI5: if you are not prepared to give up all use of drugs, do not apply.
14How the scheme worksOnline application between September and November annuallyincludes online verbal, numeric self-assessment with feedback providedOnline cognitive and non-cognitive testsInvigilated ½ day e-Tray exerciseTwo One-day Assessment Centres*Points to make:*Diplomatic service/FCO process includes an additional assessment post FSACRecommend you don’t leave submitting your online application to the last moment, give yourself time. There is only one application period now except for the economist and statistic’s option. If applying for more than one scheme you can only apply for Econs/Stats in Round 1 (+ say, GFS)Each candidate has their own scheme progress page on the FS website which provides them with their own timetable and deadlines to meet, needs to be checked regularly in order not to miss a deadline as all activities/tests are time limitedAlternative arrangements made for those who have a disability that prevents them using online facilities; applicants with a disability (as defined under the Act) should phone the helpdesk on the number provided on the web site; reasonable adjustments will be made at all our test centres, eg. Extra time for people with dyslexia, providing test materials on coloured paper and large print, large PC monitors and specialist software, orthopaedic chairs and scribes/readers.e-Tray exercise at regional centresAssessment Centre in London (we bring around 1,000 candidates for c. 300 GFS places, c 500 across all schemes)
15Assessment CentreIf you are successful in the online tests you’ll be invited to our assessment centre in London:Group exerciseBriefing exercisePolicy Recommendation exerciseInterviewIt will be a stimulating experience and feedback is provided!Points to make:*Diplomatic service/FCO process includes an additional assessment post FSACAt the Assessment Centre you are not in competition with other candidates, if you meet the required standard you will passA guide to the assessment centre is sent to those invited that includes examples of tests and general adviceAssessors and team at assessment centre are friendly and helpfulMake sure you come to the assessment with lots of examples that give evidence that you have the competencies sought:Delivery skills (drive for results, learning and improving)Intellectual capacity (decision making, constructive thinking)Interpersonal skills (building productive relationships, communicating with impact)Please provide personal anecdotes and tips from your own experience of your Board but note that FSAC 2009 may be slightly different.At the end of the boarding season everyone receives their Board Report, which is helpful for future career development
16What is being assessed?Our assessment process is wholly competency based and tests:Drive for resultsLearning and improvingDecision-makingConstructive thinkingBuilding productive relationshipsCommunicating with impact
17www.faststream.gov.uk Please visit the web site There are profiles of current Fast Streamers to read that will give you a flavour of the work we doRemember, application is online - and it’s not a good idea to go to the wire on the closing date!Points to make:Please give a pen portrait of your Fast Stream career to date and relate some activities of colleagues to demonstrate the variety of FS work and the frequency of moves and the benefits that brings
18Administrative Grades Administrative AssistantsExecutive AssistantsCheckPoints to make:We recruit annually if there is a business need. Vacancies and campaigns are advertised onAdministrative Assistants:Administrative Assistants join the Home Civil Service cadre of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, spending their entire career in the UK. Administrative Assistants are the first level of administrative support, so some tasks are likely tobe routine. However, the role will be challenging at times, so you’ll need plenty of initiative, good interpersonal skills and to take pride in delivering a good service. At this level, we’re looking for people with all-round IT, administrative and organisational skills, including running electronic and paper filing systems, data entry, customer service and invoice processing.Executive Assistants:Executive Assistants provide vital support for the Diplomatic Service both in London and in our posts abroad. You will need to be highly literate as you may be drafting letters to MPs and members of the public. Numeracy is also important as you are likely to be handling accounts andinvoices. You will also need commitment, drive and the ability to adapt to the range of challenges you will meetin the Diplomatic Service. You must be able to work as part of a team and show individual flair and initiative. With the support of your fellow team members, you will be required to assess and prioritise your workload and handle conflicting priorities, often under pressure. You will work overseas. You will get the most out of your career if you are interested in and curious about different cultures and societies and would like to experience living in them. You should also be prepared to work in challenging environments where some of the most important foreign policy issues are happening. Ability to speak a foreign language is an asset. Not only must you be willing to take on challenges, you must also be committed to seeing through tasks such as filing papers, retrieving files or sorting through visa applications, requiring both concentration and accuracy. We are particularly interested in applicants with PA/secretarial and IT skills.Operational Officers:Operational Officers specialise in the practical side of diplomatic work. You should have an interest in international affairs and relish the opportunity to live in different societies and cultures. The work you could be involved in is varied and challenging and you must be able to show initiative and think on your feet. You should also be prepared to work in challenging environments where critical foreign policy work on conflict prevention and counter terrorism happens. Operational Officers can spend a large proportion of their career overseas working in our Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates. You could be assisting British citizens abroad, issuing visas or even arranging official visits. In London, you could be co-ordinating and implementing policy, amending travel advice or working in one of our corporate services teams. To be effective, Operational Officers must be flexible, intellectually curious and open to change. We’re looking for people who are proactive – identifying and resolving problems – as well as being able to work as part of a team. Ability to speak foreign languages is a real asset.
19Specialist Recruitment Specialists provide invaluable knowledge and expertise to a wide variety of FCO rolesRecruitment dependent on business need, checkThe range of skills they bring is extensive and includes:Research & analysisLegal expertiseAccountancy & finance skillsAudit, compliance and risk analysisInformation technologyPoints to make:Recruitment dependent on business needCheck
20Work Experience Visit our website www.fco.gov.uk/careers for details on the following:We participate in Cabinet Office’s Summer Development and Placement SchemesFor more details please go toPoints to make:
21Blogs Foreign and Commonwealth Office blogsite - Global Conversations: Daily accounts of what it’s really like to work for usBloggers include the Foreign Secretary, Ambassadors, Operational Officers and many more…Points to make:
22Open to allOur recruitment policy is aimed at bringing in a talented and diverse workforce that represents the society that we serve.We actively seek applications from all sections of society and offer positions to suitably qualified individuals regardless of ethnicity, religion, social/educational background, age, disability or sexual orientation.Appointments at all levels of the FCO are made on the basis of merit.Points to make:all appointments to and in the FCO made strictly on merit;no quotas of staff from particular backgrounds: quotas are illegal in the UK; butapplications warmly welcomed from currently under-represented groups, eg minority ethnic, women, disabled;we are keen that 21st century FCO looks and feels like 21st century UK: we want the best talent available, regardless of personal circumstances or background.