We held our first CS Local Scotland Social Mobility Network (Nexus) event on 10 July. This was a careers day with a difference for 16 year 5 students from a number of schools across Glasgow and Edinburgh. The day was organised by Erin McCue, one of our members and hosted by the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF).
The aim of the event was to give students an opportunity to find out more about the range of roles available in the Civil Service and how a recruitment exercise might work, in short, to take away some of the unknowns around the Civil Service and to show that it’s open to anyone.
We wanted to make the whole event informal, welcoming and inclusive to all. Anything else would have defeated our purpose of the day. So, with that in mind, suits were discouraged and jeans and trainers actively encouraged for those presenting.
The event was in 3 parts and began with 6 of us, representing our departments: Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, Department for Work and Pensions, Home Office, HM Revenue and Customs, Department for International Development and the Fast Stream, giving an overview of the work we do. The mix of styles worked well and kept everyone interested, including the other presenters and I think we all learnt a lot from each other.
The highlight of the day was a Q&A session with questions ranging from the type of training needed for each job to how much we all got paid. The students appreciated the honesty with which we all answered these questions and they were able to get a realistic insight into what we all did and what other opportunities there were.
Finally we ran a mini recruitment exercise for which we put the students into small groups. We used a recruitment scenario, which we re-worded to make it more accessible for ourselves more than the students. One of the barriers to entering the Civil Service is the jargon in the job adverts and recruitment scenarios and we wanted to remove this. The students were surprised that there was no ‘right’ answer and were encouraged by the fact that a lot of the time they would be measured on how well they interacted with each other.
Overall this was an excellent event and one, which all those involved in, took a lot of positives from. Students who hadn’t previously thought about joining the Civil Service now say they would consider it, which is a great result. Both the students and SMF have given great feedback and now have a more positive outlook on the Civil Service.
We hope to work with the SMF again on similar events and to use the network to get as many departments up and down Scotland involved as possible.
We are always looking for new members so if you’re interested in becoming part of the Nexus or would like further information on the network or social mobility more broadly then please do get in touch with Thomas Lough.
You can also follow us on Twitter @scgsmn