On the Commercial Fast Stream, seal the deal in one of Europe's largest buying organisations
Every year we spend £200 billion of taxpayers' money with suppliers to provide public services. Central government alone spends over £50 billion each year on goods and services. Therefore, effective management of our commercial activities is incredibly important. As a Commercial Fast Streamer you’ll play a huge part in making sure the Civil Service achieves this value for money for the taxpayer.
Commercial capability is increasingly recognised as the top skill sought by employers in all sectors, and building commercial expertise and skills is one of the top 3 priorities for the Civil Service.
The Government Commercial Function (GCF) has been at the frontline in responding to the global pandemic and health emergency, innovating and securing millions of pieces of equipment and services, from ventilators, to laptops for schools to vaccinations for UK citizens. We work with suppliers of all sizes to drive innovation, savings and successful delivery of public services. We are committed to improving the quality of services we provide to the public for less money through the decisions made by commercial professionals.
You will learn how to negotiate contracts worth billions of pounds you will and ensure that government is in tune with its markets, and manage our relationships as well as manage its relationship with some of the biggest companies in the world. This means that the commercial activity carried out attracts a huge amount of press and political attention. Applying sound judgement in commercial matters is vital in protecting the government's reputation.
To find out more, please visit https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/government-commercial-function
- Eligible to work in the UK
- You need, or expect to have, a 2:2 or higher in any degree subject including degree apprenticeships
- Existing civil servants can apply without a degree
What will you experience?
Throughout the 3 years on the scheme, you will work across a broad range of central government departments, developing your commercial skills, establishing crucial networks across the function and our supplier base, which will enable you to become a successful commercial leader.
You will also undertake a CIPS qualification which offers the foundation blocks to enhance your knowledge of the commercial lifecycle, brought to life through your different departmental postings.
Upon successful completion of the scheme, you will be offered to join the Government Commercial Organisation (GCO) and start earning around £49k to £55k in a senior commercial leadership role. There will be a wide range of opportunities available to you to help you continue developing your skills and support your career progression.
The Government Commercial Function and the commercial professionals within it are all working across the UK. As a nationwide scheme, we not only have a strong Commercial presence in London, but are also growing our footprint across the regions outside of London. Commercial Fast Streamers have had the opportunity to work in a variety of locations including but not limited to Bristol, Coventry, Manchester, Leeds, Darlington and Glasgow. In fact, almost 40% of our roles this year were based outside of London. So if you do apply for the Commercial Fast Stream scheme, there are plenty of postings across the UK which will give you the opportunity to develop your commercial experience working in different teams, with different cultures across different cities.
Commercial is a very diverse profession and is very much a sector where doors are there to be opened and where performance drives career progression, even beyond Fast Stream.
Year 1: 12 months. You’ll take on a commercial role within a government department, such as the Ministry of Defence or the Cabinet Office.
Year 2: 12 months. You’ll gain experience and knowledge in another commercial placement in a different government department such as the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Year 3: Two 6-month placements. One of these will be a commercial role in government, the other will be a commercial secondment outside of government, in either the private sector or a charity. Or you could choose to do another 12 months posting in another government department.
Supporting your learning
Training and support includes:
- Undertake the CIPS Corporate Award Practitioner and Advanced Practitioner programme. Successful completion of this programme results in full membership of CIPS (MCIPS), after 3 years' experience in a responsible procurement role.
- You'll gain experience on how to address public sector-specific learning needs, to drive more sustainable, transparent and ethical commercial practices.
Up to £55K
If you successfully complete the scheme and are promoted, you could earn around £45k to £55k.
What benefits will you enjoy?
Other benefits include the Civil Service pension scheme, flexible working, season ticket loans, sports and social activities, child care assistance and more.
The online assessments consist of Work Style Questionnaires and multimedia Situational Judgement Questionnaires, Work Based Scenarios and a video interview.
You'll only move on to the next test, if you've successfully passed the previous one.
If you pass the online assessments, you’ll be invited to undertake a half day assessment centre. This will be conducted virtually on line. The Fast Stream Assessment Centre (FSAC) reflects some of the key elements of a Fast Stream role and will consist a leadership scenario, a team scenario and a written scenario. Information will be presented via an app that you will be able to access remotely.
If you are successful at the assessment centre, you’ll be invited to take part in a final selection process.
The specialist assessments will assess your broad capabilities and motivation to be part of the profession you’ve chosen. You’ll be sent detailed guidance before the assessment to explain what is involved.