diplomatic service


Diplomatic Service

Promote British interests overseas and support our businesses and citizens around the world


2-3 years


£28K per annum


London and overseas


As a Diplomatic service fast streamer you will get to be part of The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), giving you the opportunity to work on some of the most diverse and rewarding areas in government.


The FCO is responsible for:


  • Safeguarding the UK’s national security by countering terrorism, extremism and weapons proliferation, and working to reduce conflict. Support British nationals around the world when they are most in need through modern and efficient consular services.
  • Promoting UK prosperity by opening markets, driving economic reform, championing British business and supporting free trade and sustainable global growth
  • Protecting and promoting the values and influence of Global Britain, strengthening our partnerships and the rules-based international system. Support good governance, democracy, rule of law and human rights; prevent and resolve conflict; and build stability overseas.


As a member of the FCO you will be part of a worldwide network of embassies and consulates, with about 274 diplomatic posts in 168 countries. Our officers work on everything, from negotiating Britain’s exit from the EU, to supporting British nationals affected by natural disasters and terrorist attacks overseas.


You can also apply for the Diplomatic Service (Economics) scheme provided you meet the eligibility criteria.


  • you must be a British citizen (those with dual nationality may apply) and must have been resident in the UK for at least 2 out of the last 10 years
  • you need, or expect to have, a 2:2 degree in any subject or higher; existing civil servants can apply without a degree
  • existing civil servants can apply without a degree as part of the in-service scheme

What will you experience?

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There's no such thing as a typical diplomatic career. You could be based in London or working in a one of the Foreign Office's small, challenging or remote embassies, or working on global issues in one of our large embassies in Washington and Paris.


You might focus on bilateral work, multilateral work, consular support, media and communications, project management or decide to specialise in a particular region of the world.


Foreign Office staff change roles routinely every 3 to 4 years. You apply for each role according to your preferences, career ambitions, and personal circumstances.


All Diplomatic Service Fast Streamers must be granted Developed Vetting security clearance before starting.

What do they say?

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Your progression through the programme

What you’ll learn

Fast Streamers are expected to devote around 10% of their time to learning and development. In your first year, there will be 5 weeks of mandatory training in the basics of how the Foreign and Commonwealth Office works and diplomatic tradecraft.

In addition you may need job-specific training, often including a visit to one of our embassies overseas.
You’ll be matched with a buddy from the previous year’s Fast Stream intake, and will have the opportunity to work with a coach or a mentor if you choose. 

Up to £45k

Promotion could see you earn around £45k within 5 years

What benefits will you enjoy?


You’ll have a unique chance to work on issues that really matter, and to gain experience internally and externally. It’s the best foundation for promotion and long-term progression.


Other benefits include the Civil Service pension scheme, professional qualifications, language learning opportunities, flexible working, season ticket loans, sports and social activities, childcare assistance and more.

Promotion and successful completion of the scheme will see you earn around £45k, while other benefits include the Civil Service pension scheme, professional qualifications, flexible working, season ticket loans, sports and social activities, childcare assistance and more. 

Application process


Online tests

The online tests consist of 2 questionnaires, an e-tray exercise and a video interview. We recommend you do some practice questions: Situational judgement questions.

You'll only move on to the next test, if you've successfully passed the previous one.


Assessment centre

If you pass the online tests, you'll be invited to complete an Application Form and this will be sifted by the scheme owner. If successful at the sift, then you will be invited to attend a half-day assessment at one of our assessment centres in either London or Newcastle.

We'll ask you to take part in a series of exercises. This includes a leadership exercise, a group exercise and an analysis exercise.


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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