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Diplomatic and Development


Diplomatic and Development

The Diplomatic and Development Fast Stream guarantees a fascinating, personally rewarding career at the centre of world events.


2 years




London and East Kilbride (followed by subsequent opportunities overseas)


This is an exciting time to be joining the Diplomatic and Development Fast Stream. In September 2020, the UK Government united development and diplomacy into one Government Department - the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) - to bring together the UK’s international effort.

The FCDO promotes the interests of British citizens, safeguards the UK’s security, defends our values, reduces poverty and tackles global challenges with our international partners. We bring the whole of the Government together to deliver our international strategy with one voice overseas.


  • British citizen (those with dual nationality may apply)
  • Resided in the UK for at least 5 of the previous 10 years, including a consecutive 12-month period.
  • You need, or expect to have a 2:2 degree, degree apprenticeship or higher in any subject
  • Existing civil servants can apply without a degree

What will you experience?

diplomatic service plaque diplomatic service plaque

No two Fast Streamers will share the same career path. Each role undertaken will require different skills to succeed and provide exposure to a wide range of opportunities. You'll have the opportunity to formulate and implement policy, engage with key stakeholders and build a portfolio of skills in both the development and diplomacy space. We seek individuals who are agile and flexible with a willingness to work in either of the FCDO’s headquarters in London and East Kilbride..

On completion of the scheme, there is the expectation that you will spend a large part of your career based overseas. This could be working in one of the FCDO's small, challenging or remote embassies, to working on global issues in one of our large embassies in Washington and Paris.

All Diplomatic and Development Fast Streamers must be granted ‘Developed Vetting’ (DV) security clearance before starting. For DV clearance, you need to have lived in the UK for 5 of the last 10 years, including a consecutive 12-month period. Security clearance relies on assurance checks that can only be carried out in the UK - which is why a sufficient UK footprint is a mandatory requirement.

You can also apply for the Diplomatic and Development Economics scheme provided you meet the eligibility criteria provided you meet the eligibility criteria.

Your progression through the programme

Supporting your learning

Diplomatic and Development Fast Streamers have outstanding access to development opportunities through the International Academy.

The International Academy is the home of all Learning and Development for the FCDO. Their learning offer covers a wide range of essential and job specific subjects, and is designed to ensure that all staff, no matter where they are based, can access high quality learning products.

During your two years on the scheme, there will be five weeks of required learning focussed on leadership and developing your skills in diplomatic tradecraft and international development. This will be supplemented with on-the-job training.

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 at the centre of world events. The scheme provides the ideal foundation for promotion and long-term career progression.

Other benefits include the Civil Service Pension Scheme, recognised language qualifications, season ticket loans, sports and social activities, childcare assistance, diversity support/networks/forums and more.

Application process

Step 1 - Online Assessments

Online assessments

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.

Step 2 - Assessment centre

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.

Step 3 - Final selection

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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