Callum G.

Policy Manager
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Callum G.
Politics and International Relations
United Kingdom

My employment

Policy Manager
UK Government
United Kingdom
Politics and public affairs
Large business (250+ employees)

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A day in the life of a Policy Manager in the United Kingdom

I'm happy to advise on applications to civil service roles (especially navigating the application process which differs significantly from the private sector) and give general guidance on finding the right career.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

I work in Whitehall in a central government department.

What do you do?

I am a policy manager - I lead a small team to help translate government and ministerial directions into real world policies. I have experience across operational policy (working alongside operational staff to facilitate policy-based problem solving) through to systems strategy (working across a range of partners to set a single direction and method) which have given me the confidence to step into new challenges and make important decisions alongside others.

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

I was always interested in the working for people's benefit and in government but not as ideologically motivated as some students so looked to work in the public sector. I initially failed the Fast Stream assessment (the UK government's graduate scheme) so looked for alternative routes into the civil service.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

It works differently to what I expected, what may appear to be a seamless machine on the outside quickly becomes a very personal and people focused career.

Describe your most memorable day at work

Arriving at the office early and being the first person in the UK called about an international incident. The rest of the day was trying to get all the information I could up to senior decision makers to get the best outcome for those involved.

Are there any challenges associated with your job?

Policy is very people focused and requires juggling a large network of individuals and working to get the best outcomes despite some personal differences, but differences of background and outlook at what are necessary to deliver the best outcomes.

What’s your work environment and culture like?

Working in the civil service is very positive - there is a great sense of community as everyone is there to deliver the best outcome possible. Most roles give flexible working options which suits my lifestyle. I've spent more time in roles that don't require five days a week working and have done variations of condensed hours (spreading my 37 contracted hours over four days out of five or nine days out of ten).

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

I used to chair and write for the university's satire magazine The Lemon Press. I learnt lots of people skills (what would be referred to in the civil service as stakeholder management) and writing skills.

What would you like to do next with your career?

Im still early in my career so I want to persevere and go up the ladder but beyond my thirties I'm still undecided.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

Have someone review your CV and asked what is and isn't needed. And if you find yourself in a career you decide isn't your fit I would recommend looking to another career - I did an eight month stint in recruitment consultancy but quickly realised it wasn't for me so redoubled my efforts to get into the civil service.

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

I'm happy to advise on applications to civil service roles (especially navigating the application process which differs significantly from the private sector) and give general guidance on finding the right career.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Callum’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Callum a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Callum to be your mentor.

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