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CS Local Northern Ireland three months on

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Neil, Lynn and Andy on podium at opening event
NI Team at the launch in November

Almost 3 months after the launch of CS Local in Northern Ireland it seems like an opportune time for Neil and Lynn to reflect on their respective, and combined, journeys and look ahead through 2019.

Lynn Cooper
Lynn Cooper“Well, it has been quite a roller-coaster, although fortunately one with lots of ‘ups’ and very few ‘downs’.

My first task upon joining CS Local was to organise the actual Launch event, sourcing a venue, stands, speakers, facilitators and all the multitude of other actions needed to put together a high-profile event for over 200 Home civil servants in a relatively short space of time. Coming from front-line operations in HM Passport Office, I was used to a fairly high-pressure environment but the transition to home-based working with no staff to manage or colleagues to chat to, wasn’t always easy - I really missed my team, colleagues and especially my job-share partner. But as Launch day approached, I quickly came to see that strong bonds and unwavering support was also developing with my new colleagues, a collaboration which has continued to grow and strengthen.

Since then, I seem to get busier as each week passes but I am absolutely loving it! No two days are the same, and I’m constantly learning new skills such as self-discipline, strategy building, and time management, and increasing my knowledge of the wider Civil Service through frequent cross-departmental engagement, project management opportunities, autonomous working and a unique thinking-outside-the-box culture.”

Neil Alton
“Before joining CSNeil Alton Local I had been working in an area that I had cultivated into a pretty nice comfort zone for myself. I was confident about what I had to do, in the full knowledge of what I needed to do it – I was in control, I was self-assured and I had a strong network around me to support me.

Cut to now. The comfort zone has gone. However, without the comfort, brings the opportunity for me to develop new skills and new ways of working. For the first time I am engaging with the wider Civil Service community. I’m learning how the different departments operate, honing my communication skills as I liaise with stakeholders of new and exciting grades. I am having to plan at a different level than before as I begin to understand the different business needs and cultures in the various departments around me. Every day I am being challenged and pushed to new places.

I passionately believe in what CS Local is trying to achieve and I feel incredibly fortunate to be in a position to bring it to life and influence its future direction in Northern Ireland. Despite moments of 'what on earth have I gotten myself into?' the majority of the time I find myself reflecting that this is the most thrilling and rewarding job I have ever done.”

Moving Forward

We have already met so many amazing people, each with their own stories and perspectives; each with their own value for the Civil Service in Northern Ireland. Going forward, we hope to connect with even more of you through our programme of Discovery Sessions, Networks, People Connections and Academies – where you can share your valuable experiences and knowledge, inspire others to achieve great things and collaborate with other departments as we strive to become 'A Brilliant Civil Service'.

There aren’t too many other departments in the Civil Service like CS Local - so if you’re keen to take advantage of the great opportunities available (project work, mentoring, job shadowing, comms team to name just a few), then please get in touch and we will be happy to discuss the option best suited to your skills, development areas and time commitment.

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