Stefanie P.

Civil Service Fast Streamer
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Stefanie P.
Historical Archaeology
United Kingdom

My employment

Civil Service Fast Streamer
Civil Service
United Kingdom
Government and civil service
Large business (250+ employees)

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A day in the life of a Civil Service Fast Streamer in the United Kingdom

Civil Service Fast stream Communications scheme - following internships in heritage and charity sectors

How I looked for work

Finding a job was difficult and took a long time (I started a three month internship two months after uni and on finishing that it took another four months to get a job) - so start applying early. It's easy to become disheartened when you don't hear back from job applications or were told no after an interview. It's important to remember that the jobs market is very competitive and being turned down isn't personal.

It can also get very boring constantly applying for jobs without much else to do so I volunteered and took a part-time job at a pub to get more experience. This gave me extra skills to put on my CV and talk about at interviews as well as getting me out the house.

There are lots of useful websites to look for jobs. Some I found useful were the Guardian jobs site,, Museum Jobs Desk - University of Leicester, local papers and county council websites.

How I found out about the job

I had first heard about the Fast Stream at University but applied a few years later after seeing an advert on Facebook.

The recruitment process

The selection process for the Civil Service Fast Stream is long and requires some dedication and work. You have to fill out an initial application online and then face a series of online tests and assessment days (in London) which you have to pass to progress to the next. I applied in September 2014 and started on the scheme in September 2015 - it takes a while to work through the process.

The assessment process itself helped develop skills and gave me a lot of experience so is well worth the effort if you're interested and a valuable process even if you're not successful.

My career history

When I left university I undertook an internship as a Conservation Assistant with the National Trust for three months, after which I continued with the Trust volunteering as an Oral History Assistant.

In April 2013 I joined The Inland Waterways Association (a waterways charity) and worked as a volunteer manager and in communications.

I started on the Civil Service Fast Stream in September 2015. My first six month posting was as a Press Officer in the Department of Health.

My advice to students considering work

Be ready to apply for all sorts of jobs - not just those dream opportunities. I've found the random roles I wasn't quite sure about have been great development opportunities and enjoyable!

What I do

I am on the Communications scheme of the Civil Service Fast Stream so get the opportunity to move through a number of placements using and developing a variety of skills.

I'm coming to the end of my second year and have had roles as a Department of Health Press Officer, Stakeholder Relations Officer for HMRC, Communications Officer for the Boundary Commission for England and Digital Producer for think tank Institute for Public Policy Research. I am now an Internal Communications Advisor at the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, working on internal communications from department leaders.

Across these roles I've had the chance to work with Ministers and senior members of the civil service, provided briefings, written communication plans, produced press releases, briefed journalists, accompanied spokespeople to interviews, arranged interviews, launched websites, managed website content, edited videos, managed social media accounts and much more. It's all been very exciting and and a great opportunity to learn!

Skills I use and how I developed them

I've used and developed a variety of skills in this role including:
- Giving verbal briefings, used when briefing journalists and colleagues on policy.
- Writing skills, specifically writing in various styles to suit the audience e.g. Press notices for newspapers, submissions for Ministers, briefings for colleagues.
- Digital skills, specifically working with Adobe to edit video/audio/photos/graphics, building a website, launching a website and managing website content.
- Presentation skills
- Influencing skills
- Leadership, although I don't lead a team I have led communication plans on specific policies, this involves developing and delivering communication plans.
- Team building, responding to press queries and planning announcements requires input and insight from policy colleagues, communications colleagues and other organisations. It's also important to share your insight with others.
- Working under pressure / time management, the role requires managing multiple long term projects with multiple press queries that often have a very short deadline and can come in unexpectedly.

What I like most

The possibilities to learn - with so many training opportunities, exposure to various roles and policies and lots of very experienced people around I am constantly learning new skills, processes and information.

What surprised me most

The departments - your initial expectations of what it might be like to work in a department are often not quite right!

Next steps...

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

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