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On the Commercial Fast Stream, you'll learn how to negotiate contracts worth billions of pounds, helping to keep our citizens safe, build important public assets - schools, railways, roads, hospitals – and deliver essential frontline public services.

3.5 years


Every year we spend £300 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.

You'll be joining us at an exciting time as our teams work to transform public procurement to maximise innovation and deliver wider economic benefits for the UK.

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.

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 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 across our supplier base, all of which will enable you to become a successful commercial leader. Previously, our Commercial Fast Streamers have been posted into various challenging and pivotal roles. Some of these have included working on high profile, critical projects to drive the optimisation of supplier relationships and contracts, as well as joining one of our key energy category teams to help deliver a procurement project that aims to replace the framework for supply of energy to UK Government Departments and large parts of the Wider Public Sector.

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 brought to life through your different departmental postings.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. This is a nationwide scheme and Commercial Fast Streamers have had the opportunity to work in a variety of locations. In fact, almost 70% of our roles are available across the UK as shown in the map

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.

Civil Service Fast Stream

Your progression through the programme

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.

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.
  • Access to GCF cross-government events and conferences, as well as the opportunity to engage in other networking activities to support your wider learning.
  • Build a breadth and depth of knowledge and experience, preparing you for leadership success in the Commercial profession.
  • Gain experience in a wide-range of commercial technical skills, such as contract management and policy development.


Up to £55K

  • Starting Salary - £31,186
  • Capability assessed salary increases throughout the scheme
  • Towards the end of Year 3, you will complete your End of Scheme Assessment. If successful, you will be promoted off the scheme, either into a role you have identified or into a priority permanent role allocated by the scheme. In your role on graduation from the scheme, you could earn between £45k and £55k.

What benefits will you enjoy?

Civil Service Fast Stream

Other benefits include the Civil Service pension scheme, flexible working, season ticket loans, sports and social activities, child care assistance and more.

Learning and Development on the Commercial Scheme

Alongside the scheme-specific learning offer, you will complete the universal training which provides core foundation skills and leadership & management skills.

Application process

  1. Online assessments

    The online assessments consist of Work Style Questionnaires, a multimedia Situational Judgement Questionnaire, Numerical Test and Work Based Scenarios.

  2. Assessment centre

    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.

  3. Final selection

    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.

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