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Foreign & Commonwealth Office

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Presentation on theme: "Foreign & Commonwealth Office"— Presentation transcript:

1 Foreign & Commonwealth Office

2 Why a career in the Diplomatic Service?
Challenging work that often makes a difference to people’s lives Very early responsibility Experience a great variety of work Excellent training and support

3 Who we are The lead government department handling foreign affairs working in two key areas: Foreign policy Service delivery overseas

4 What we do We deal on a daily basis with: Climate change Human rights
Helping British citizens abroad Conflict resolution Forced marriages Trade and investment Counter terrorism and so much more…

5 Entry routes Policy Entrants Administrative Grade Recruitment
Recruitment of specialists

6 Affect lives – work with Government
The Diplomatic Service policy entrant - a demanding graduate entry point into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office An opportunity to work directly with members of the public and government ministers Could 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 Service It seeks to attract the best and the demanding entry process reflects this The work is varied and worthwhile, and carries early responsibility - please give examples from your own experience

7 Graduate Fast Stream
Seven options: Diplomatic Service European Fast Stream Central Departments Science & Engineering House of Commons Economists Statisticians Points 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

8 The Diplomatic Service Options:
Graduate Fast Stream The Diplomatic Service Options: The Diplomatic Service* Economists Points to make: *In order to select the FCO/Diplomatic Service in the Fast Stream applicants must select Diplomatic Service as their first choice It is also possible to become an FCO/DS Economist through the Fast Stream Competition for places in FCO are particularly competitive. Diplomatic Service has a Final Selection Board, post success at the Assessment Centre

9 What you will do First two training years in London
One year doing Policy delivery work One year doing Service delivery work Then abroad in one of 200 embassies, high commissions or consulates around the globe for two to three years mainly focusing on policy Points to make: Policy Delivery work examples: Handling our relations with other countries, dealing with security and defence issues, working to improve human rights abroad Service Delivery work example: Working in our consular department helping distressed British nationals As 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.

10 Training and Career Development
A personal training programme Mentoring and buddying Coaching and e-learning On-the-job training Self study National School of Government Points to make: Training in Modern Diplomacy, EU Institutions etc… Please provide examples from your own training experiences to date to show how you have benefited If interested, there is a link from the FS website to the National School of Government website where course details can be viewed

11 Benefits Starting salary from around £29,000
Choice of pension costing a maximum of 3.5% of salary 25 days holiday, plus 10.5 public holidays Flexible working widely available Opportunities to work internationally Points 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

12 Entry Requirements A 2:2 degree in any discipline*
All Diplomatic Service posts are open to UK nationals only Points to make: *Economists – 2:1 in economics or degree with a least half economics or Masters in Economics Residency 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.

13 Security Vetting All our permanent staff must pass Developed Vetting
Tests you are not susceptible to pressure from other organisations Your finances, criminal record and work and residency history will be checked Strict no drugs policy Baseline 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.

14 How the scheme works Online application between September and November annually includes online verbal, numeric self-assessment with feedback provided Online cognitive and non-cognitive tests Invigilated ½ day e-Tray exercise Two One-day Assessment Centres* Points to make: *Diplomatic service/FCO process includes an additional assessment post FSAC Recommend 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 limited Alternative 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 centres Assessment Centre in London (we bring around 1,000 candidates for c. 300 GFS places, c 500 across all schemes)

15 Assessment Centre If you are successful in the online tests you’ll be invited to our assessment centre in London: Group exercise Briefing exercise Policy Recommendation exercise Interview It will be a stimulating experience and feedback is provided! Points to make: *Diplomatic service/FCO process includes an additional assessment post FSAC At the Assessment Centre you are not in competition with other candidates, if you meet the required standard you will pass A guide to the assessment centre is sent to those invited that includes examples of tests and general advice Assessors and team at assessment centre are friendly and helpful Make 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

16 What is being assessed? Our assessment process is wholly competency based and tests: Drive for results Learning and improving Decision-making Constructive thinking Building productive relationships Communicating with impact

17 Please visit the web site
There are profiles of current Fast Streamers to read that will give you a flavour of the work we do Remember, 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

18 Administrative Grades
Administrative Assistants Executive Assistants Check Points to make: We recruit annually if there is a business need. Vacancies and campaigns are advertised on Administrative 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 to be 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 and invoices. You will also need commitment, drive and the ability to adapt to the range of challenges you will meet in 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.

19 Specialist Recruitment
Specialists provide invaluable knowledge and expertise to a wide variety of FCO roles Recruitment dependent on business need, check The range of skills they bring is extensive and includes: Research & analysis Legal expertise Accountancy & finance skills Audit, compliance and risk analysis Information technology Points to make: Recruitment dependent on business need Check

20 Work Experience Visit our website
for details on the following: We participate in Cabinet Office’s Summer Development and Placement Schemes For more details please go to Points to make:

21 Blogs Foreign and Commonwealth Office blogsite - Global Conversations:
Daily accounts of what it’s really like to work for us Bloggers include the Foreign Secretary, Ambassadors, Operational Officers and many more… Points to make:

22 Open to all Our 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; but applications 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.

23 Any Questions?

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