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Young ethnic minorities urged to apply for Civil Service leadership scheme


TWO young civil servants have encouraged others to apply for the Civil Service Fast Stream
programme, claiming it will provide opportunities to reach senior positions in government.

Due to open for applications next week, the Civil Service Fast Stream is a leadership development programme available to graduates and those already working in the civil service.

It offers a choice of 15 schemes with opportunities for applicants to select subjects such as finance, diplomatic service, science and engineering, and government social research.

Those who are accepted work across the civil service, typically gaining experience across different government departments.

Samiha Begum, 24, has been working as a social researcher at the Valuation Office Agency for just over a year. It is her first placement on the fast stream scheme.

Looking back on her experiences, she told Eastern Eye that it is an ideal route to reach high
levels in government.

Successful fast stream applicant Samiha Begum is currently working as a social researcher at the Valuation Office Agency

“If you were someone who knows that they want to be in the civil service and be a leader in
government, the fast stream is a perfect place for you as it is there to develop you as a leader and to build you as someone who could be quite senior,” Begum said.

And although she admitted that the fast stream application process could seem “slightly daunting”, it would be beneficial once you started a position within the civil service.

“By the time, you’ve done the application process, you feel ready for it,” she said.

Begum emphasised the cabinet office and senior management were there to facilitate your development and help you progress.

“They aren’t there to catch you out – they want you to do well and they know you can,” she said.

Having studied social policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Begum said it was a “done thing” for graduates to look into jobs in government.

“We were all aware of the fast stream and the civil service,” she said. “It was always presented as a career route by our lecturers at universities.”

Begum advised those applying to persevere – she failed to get into the fast stream when she
initially applied. It was only during her second application that she was successful.

“You just need to put time and effort into the application process and ask for tips from other
people who have done it,” she said. “And if you don’t get in the first time that you apply, try
again the next year…I’m very grateful that I stuck at it.”

Mo Hussaini, 20, is one of the youngest people to ever join the fast stream. He has started his position as a quality advisor at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) this month. Hussaini, from London, initially started as a civil service apprentice. He did not finish his A-Levels, instead choosing to apply for an apprenticeship within the civil service instead.

Mo Hussaini, 20, is one of the youngest people to ever join the fast stream

“I’d been looking for opportunities and didn’t think that university was for me,” he told Eastern Eye, adding he learnt better by “doing things” rather than sitting in a classroom.

Initially, he had looked at the fast stream – but was unable to apply, as he did not have a degree. So, he applied for an apprenticeship instead, eventually securing a position as a Case
Worker at the MoJ – a role he held for almost two years. Since last December, he has acted as an Insolvency Examiner in The Insolvency Service.

He has since successfully applied for the fast stream, due to his prior work within the civil
service. Although he did not go down the typical route of A-Levels and university, Hussaini said his parents were incredibly supportive of his decision. He came from a family where everyone had gone to university, so he was the first to take a different career path.

“My parents were quite open to the idea of it, but they understood what the civil service was,” he explained. “But I don’t know anyone who worked in government, so it was completely new to me.”

Asked if there was a perception that careers in the civil service were not accessible, Hussaini disagreed. The civil service has so much to offer, he claimed, and there has been a real push in making the workforce more diverse.

“For anyone who is out there that thinks that the jobs aren’t accessible, or they think it isn’t for them, maybe because they think it isn’t diverse enough, then I want them to know that that (perception) is completely wrong,” Hussaini, who aspires to work in the diplomatic service, stressed. “If you think it is something you want to do, there will always be someone there to support you.”

Applications for the Civil Service Fast Stream will open next Thursday (26) at 12pm. See here for more: