Having previously got wind of the CS Local blog online and read about a few of the successful outreach events, I was keen myself to get involved. I'm a Commercial Fast Streamer currently placed within a commercial Ministry of Justice team procuring and managing Operational Goods and Service contracts for prisons and courts. And whilst attaining new commercial expertise and efficiency savings is a key goal within my departmental roles, as part of the Fast Stream I'm also asked to think about the 'brand' of the scheme and how the Civil Service can increasingly attract a healthy cross-section of school leavers and graduates.
So I took my volunteering leave and signed up for a Careers 'speed-dating' event at Monkseaton Middle School in North Tyneside being ran by the lovely people at Northumberland Education Business Partnership (NEBP). It seemed like a mutually worthwhile experience and essentially involved groups of Year 8 students rotating around different employer representatives to fire through a series of structured and sometimes more random questions about their job, career route and working life.
Most had little clear understanding of the Civil Service and its big role and widespread opportunities at first, but were quick to scribble enthusiastic answers to their routine pay/dress/hours/qualifications questions and some went on to ask and chat about the good parts and challenges of working for central government, the odd few appreciating how public service delivery already effects them. One even boldly stating he wanted to be the Director (General) for Department of Transport so he could sort the roads out!
Overall it was both a fun and refreshing way to see students at a formative age take a slightly more interesting look at a career path that isn't as well considered in schools as others. I would certainly encourage others to stick themselves on a careers outreach day in the future if they are already thinking about it.
If you would like to find out more about volunteering with the NEBP please contact Anne Hunter