This month, we are opening our doors to undergraduates at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) to give them a taste of life in the Civil Service.
Employer demand is increasing for 'work-ready' individuals, and evidence is mounting that ‘soft’ skills - such as the ability to communicate and interact effectively with others - can boost social mobility. QMUL has developed a new initiative to help students to develop these skills while studying a traditional degree programme. The university is in the process of partnering with a number of graduate employers to create bespoke modules that will count towards 10% of all of their undergraduate degree programmes. I am delighted to announce that the Civil Service is the latest employer to join this endeavour, as a pilot gets underway this month.
Through the pilot, students will learn about the skills needed to support the Government as it tackles the big challenges facing the country. They will get first-hand experience of these skills in a work environment, by doing the types of things that a civil servant might do in a typical day. They will also hear from senior civil servants using such skills in a range of roles and fields (policy, delivery, commercial, digital technology and communications), as well as from the team supporting the day-to-day work of the Prime Minister – and me. Students will then be assessed on their work by QMUL. The pilot will run throughout the autumn, and we hope to roll out similar programmes to other interested universities in the future.
The pilot has already had an enthusiastic response from QMUL’s students. As well as helping to prepare young people for tomorrow's labour market and unlocking opportunities for them, it will raise awareness of and provide a real insight into the rewarding work carried out by civil servants every day.
The Civil Service is unrivalled in the opportunities it provides to work on issues that make a real difference to the lives of millions of people in the UK and across the globe – alongside strong career progression options and a good work/life balance. This is why we've been ranked consistently as one of the best graduate employers in the country.
However, there's always more to do. This includes engaging with an even wider range of people – for example, those who have not yet discovered the exciting range of roles that are available – and giving them direct experience of what it's really like in the Civil Service and a sense of what they'll enjoy doing should they apply to join the Civil Service Fast Stream.
I'm passionately committed to attracting talent from the widest possible base, and to grow our Civil Service so that it reflects the diversity of the public that we serve. This pilot is another way in which we are building 'A Brilliant Civil Service' that people aspire to work in. I’m really looking forward to meeting QMUL’s students next month and hope they’ll find the pilot a rewarding experience.
Follow Sir Jeremy on Twitter: @HeadUKCivServ.