How did you get started in your career and what drew you to the Civil Service?
I initially pursued a career in criminal law. I took the Bar Practitioners Training Course in 2013 following my degree course. Once I had finished the course I took a job as a paralegal in commercial property to gain experience in the legal profession. I used this experience to become an Asylum Decision Maker in the Home Office, which was more aligned with my aims of working in criminal law. When I started at the Home Office, I had already begun the application process for the Fast Stream and was glad that I had as I discovered how much I enjoy being a Civil Servant. I am able to complete challenging work and feel that I am really making a difference in people’s lives. I started on the Fast Stream in September 2014 and am just coming to the end of my second placement on the scheme. So far, I have worked in the Digital Department within HMRC and I am now working in project management within the Department of Work and Pensions.
I was drawn to the Civil Service Fast Stream because I saw it as an opportunity to be able to have a positive impact on society through my work while having the opportunity to develop. The varied roles offered by the fast stream appealed to me as I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do within government and this was an opportunity to learn about different areas and gain new skills.
How do you manage your disability at work?
I was diagnosed as Dyslexic when I was at school and have developed ways of managing this throughout my education and working life. This means that written tasks can take me longer than people may expect as I require time to proof read and redraft due to my difficulties with spelling and grammar. I have been well supported since joining the Civil Service; my manager suggested having an access to work assessment and helped with the process of putting its recommendations in place. I have found that if I need assistance or any equipment, the civil service is always willing to provide it. Additionally, they constantly encourage you to succeed without viewing disability as a barrier.
How has your employer helped you to do well at your workplace?
My manager has been excellent in supporting my development. In my roles, I have been afforded a lot of autonomy and responsibility. It was made clear to me early on that my personal development took priority over my day to day work on projects. When I have the opportunity to take on any training or other developmental opportunities I’m encouraged to take it. This has made me feel much more comfortable taking time to build on my individual skills and experiences.
How would you describe the diversity culture at the Civil Service?
The Civil Service has a very positive attitude in encouraging diversity. One of the things that attracted me to the Fast Stream was the fact that the Civil Service serves society and so the organisation should reflect the diversity we have within our society.
During my time in the Fast Stream, I have always felt that diversity is something that has been celebrated. Where it has been identified that a demographic is underrepresented, the Civil Service always sees what it can do to change this in order to get the most representative and effective workforce.
What advice or top tips would you offer?
The Civil Service is a very inclusive organisation. What makes you different will be seen as a strength and your unique experiences will support your application. Think about your own background and experiences from both your work and personal life and bring them to light in your application.
Take advantage of the support the Civil Service offers applicants such as the guaranteed interview scheme. This is in place to help people with disabilities succeed.
Isaac has since left the Civil Service and now works at NHSX as Head of Technology.