Posted in Graduates

Miss the FCO (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) Presentation? Find out about their graduate faststream scheme

Do you want a graduate job that will allow you to travel the world, learn a language, represent your country AND have an active role in maintaining international relations? If so, perhaps the FCO is the employer for you!

Earlier this month, the FCO Roadshow (Foreign & Commonwealth Office) visited Coventry University to present (and take your questions) in a packed Square One, covering topics such as the range of graduate opportunities available over the forthcoming year, and the subsequent application process and foreign policy. Our guests included Caroline Wilson (Consul General for Hong Kong & Macau), Chris Butland (HR Officer), Shaun Clarke (Desk Officer – Caribbean Team) and Caitlin Smith (Logistics Manager). 

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The work of the FCO is varied, and can be read about in more detail on the official FCO website. You may have heard about the work the FCO carries out whilst helping stranded Brits abroad; however, they are responsible for so much more!

The work the FCO carries out focuses on 3 key areas: 

  • Security (protecting the UK’s security)
  • Prosperity (promoting British Business and seeking ways to increase investment)
  • Consular (Helping to influence international policy and build relations)

In this blog we will be giving a rundown of some key facts and figures relating to the FCO fast stream graduate scheme. Remember – the Careers Team are here to help support you with your application if required.

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It is important to note that a role within the FCO must be considered as a ‘vocation’ and not a ‘vacation’, while you may at some point in your career be posted in what could be considered a holiday hotspot, the work that you will be carrying out can be pressured, delicate and in the public eye. However, it was evident to see that Caroline, Chris and Shaun had thoroughly enjoyed the time they had spent working within countries such as China, Russia and Fiji, with repeat visits a common occurrence.  It is important to note that you will never be forced to be based in a country that you have not selected as one of your choices.

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Fast Streamer FAQs 

The first two years will be spent in London:

·                 First year delivering policy (e.g. security/defence issues)

·                 Second year delivering a service (e.g. providing assistance to British Citizens abroad) and learning a hard language (Mandarin or Arabic).

A three/four year posting overseas – entering at middle management.

To join the FCO you must:

  • Be a British Citizen
  • Have resided in the UK for a certain length of time over the last 10 years
  • Choose the Diplomatic Service as your first choice
  • For economists you need (or need to expect) a 2:1 in an economics degree

You don’t:

  • Need specific language skills
  • Need to have studied a particular subject
  • Need to be well travelled.

It is important that Fast Stream candidates demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Drive for results
  • Learning and improving
  • Decision-making
  • Constructive thinking
  • Building productive relationships
  • Communicating with impact

The application process is as follows:

First you need to register your interest with the FCO. Registrations need to be completed by the 31st October 2013. You will need your National Insurance and Passport number handy to do this. (You will be asked to provide details of any disability during this stage of the process. We encourage you to provide this information as they will use it to provide reasonable adjustments as directed by the Equality Act 2010.) Register here

Once you have registered you will be advised of the next stages of the process and the timelines involved:

  1. Online self-assessments – 7 days
  2. Online practice tests – 7 days
  3. Online selection tests  (verbal and numerical) – 7 days
  4. Online selection and online application – 7 days 
  5. Online e-tray – 14 days
  6. Analytical specialist assessment (economists) – 0.5 days
  7. Fast stream assessment centre – 1 day
  8. Final selection board – 0.5 days 

Remember your opportunity to register your interest in the application process closes on the 31st October 2013, so please act now. (If you need assistance with any stage of the application process, please book an appointment with a Careers Consultant by calling 02477 65 2011.)

Good luck!

Sean 🙂


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