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Civil service

There are 470,000 people working within the 104 civil service departments. Many of these people work on formulating central government policy and helping to implement them.

This may include providing support and benefits for those in need, helping jobseekers back into work, supporting UK farming and fishing industries, supporting UK manufacturing and other industries, support to the armed forces, promoting UK industries abroad, attracting investments and helping citizens with problems abroad.

In addition to looking after the police, judicial systems and immigration, the national curriculum and education, infrastructure and health facilities, the tax system, regulating industries and driving forward national agendas like deficit reduction and climate change problems.

There are number of government affiliated organisations which deal with issues on the global agenda. Some of these are responsible for promoting British interests in different regions. Others deal with wider issues such as global poverty, economics and violence.

Organisations which work internationally, include (not an extensive list)

  • European Union (this includes the European Commission, Council of Ministers and European Parliament) – eucareers
  • Foreign & Commonwealth Office or the Foreign Office is responsible for promoting British interests abroad.
  • United Nations – careers at the UN are based around peace and security, human rights and economic and social development.
  • NATO – a political and military alliance to help deal with violence and political disputes across the globe, promoting peace and freedom.
  • Department for International Development – The DfID aim to help eradicate poverty across international borders.
  • International Monetary Fund – The IMF support economic growth, stability and prosperity in the global economy. Find out more
  • World Health Organisation – The WHO specifically deal with global health issues, providing leadership on public health.

Intelligence organisations
There are three main organisations which work in intelligence. These include GCHQ, MI5 and MI6.

As part of MI6 you could be collecting intelligence, translating, creating secure networks and presenting to departments.

MI5 differs somewhat, as does their role in national security. At MI5, you could be dealing with situations arising from terrorism, espionage, sabotage and weapons of mass destruction. Most graduates join as intelligence officers, however there are also positions within analysis, computer forensics, IT security and language analysis.

Government Communications HQ (GCHQ) work alongside MI5 and MI6 to investigate and protect British people and interests. They are responsible for signals intelligence and information assurance, playing a vital role in cyber security and threats to national security.

Local government/council
With two million staff and 400 local authorities nationwide, local government is the largest employer in the UK. Local government authorities are constantly changing, delivering government policies locally and engaging with communities to fulfil their needs. Roles involve working with children and young people, the environment, health and social care, housing, leisure and council and community safety.

As a member of a local authority, you will be working with a number of different government and community groups. You will have to liaise with local residents as well as colleagues and show a strong commitment to diversity and supporting communities.

For more information go to or

National government
A number of the national government departments have opportunities for graduates. Each look after a different side of running a modern society and government. For instance the HM Revenue & Customs looks after taxes whilst the Department for Work & Pensions looks after labour policy. Some of these departments have separate programmes to the national or local government graduate schemes. Some of these include:

  • Department for Business Innovation & Skills
  • The Highways Agency
  • HM Revenue & Customs
  • Defence Science & Technology Labs.

Working alongside government organisations are ‘quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisations’ or quangos for short. These organisations are used and funded by the government but not controlled by them. In an attempt to reduce the drain on taxes, a number of quangos were abolished back in 2010. Remaining quangos include:

  • The British Council
  • The Design Council
  • UK Film Council
  • Environment Agency
  • Forestry Commission
  • Ofcom.

These organisations help deliver public services, give advice and help regulate behaviour. Each one differs in size and the amount of work they deliver.

Emergency services

Working for police means you’ll be on the front line of ensuring the public’s safety. As a police officer you’ll work towards the latest crime initiatives but roles vary depending on which force you join and what you would like to specialise in. The police force also have a whole range of supporting staff including community support officers and special constables.

Providing a number of services, ambulance teams respond to 999 calls, non-emergency patient transport and back up services.

Control staff are trained to respond quickly to emergency situations, dealing with distressed callers and dispatching ambulances to the right location.

Ambulance drivers and paramedics are trained to work in stressful situations and stabilise patients for transport and further medical attention at the hospital.

Roles include:

  • Ambulance care assistant
  • Ambulance technician
  • Call handler
  • Emergency care assistant
  • Emergency medical dispatcher
  • Paramedic
  • Senior paramedic
  • Patient transport services controller.

As a fire fighter, you will in the thick of emergency situations, where you will need to tackle fires, rescue people from dangerous environments, deal with chemical spills and help sort out road traffic accidents.

As a member of the fire and rescue service you will also have other duties. This includes working on the prevention of fires and accidents; educating communities at schools, community centres and home visits; advising people on escape routes; actively seeking to understand the diversity found in our communities.

Healthcare & Social work

Business & Management
Managers within the NHS play a vital role in keeping the business of health going on a day-to-day basis. They manage staff, finances, supplies, equipment and buildings in order to help the health professionals do their job effectively.

As a manager you may be involved with strategy; performance and quality; service management; project management; purchasing and contracts; and communications and PR.

Roles include:

  • General manager
  • Estate and facilities manager
  • Practice manager
  • Information manager
  • Financial manager
  • Clinical managers
  • HR or Personnel managers.

Within dentistry there is a number of roles you could be doing, this includes being a dentist but also dental nurses, hygienists, technicians, therapists and orthodontists.

Most employees within this sector will work as part of a practice, some are self-employed, splitting their time practices and other facilities.

Taking care of the people’s teeth and gums should not be underestimated, this can greatly affect a person’s wellbeing both mentally and physically.

If you enjoy caring for others, why not consider nursing. There is such a range of work environments, there is something to suit everyone. Like other health professions, you will be required to register as a qualified nurse, this can be achieved either through going straight to university or working your way up.

Options in nursing include:

  • Adult nurse
  • Mental health nurse
  • Children’s nurse
  • Learning disability nurse
  • District nurse
  • Neonatal nurse
  • Health visitors
  • Practice nurse
  • Prison nurse
  • School nurse
  • Healthcare assistant
  • Other i.e. armed forces, macmillan cancer support, private nurse.

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Midwives help prepare women for pregnancy, giving birth and early postnatal care. Midwives will often work in hospitals but also in private homes, clinics, children’s centres and doctors’ surgeries. There are a number of routes into midwifery, some midwives will be nurses looking for a career change; freshly qualified from studying a degree; or working you way up and then qualifying through studying.

Healthcare science
If you are interested in science and want to carry on in research, the NHS has a wide range of opportunities available. Scientists in this field are working on preventions, diagnosing diseases, looking for new treatments and ways to rehabilitate patients.

Advances in technology have greatly increased the way scientists work, making new discoveries far more likely within shorter periods of time.

Areas include:

  • Life sciences and pathology
  • Physiology
  • Clinical engineering and physical sciences
  • Pharmacists.

Social work
This is a growing profession with 2.6 million people needed by 2025. By providing people with personal and practical support when they need it, you can greatly increase someone’s wellbeing. There is a number of roles which you could do in the field, this may include:

  • Occupational therapist
  • Community support
  • Outreach workers
  • Care workers
  • Technicians
  • First line managers
  • Senior management.

You may also specialise in the type of people or organisation you would like to help. This may include:

  • Children and families under pressure
  • Older people
  • People of physical and learning disabilities
  • People with mental health problems
  • Young adults
  • Homeless people
  • People with drug or alcohol dependencies
  • Short term support at home
  • Charities
  • Voluntary agencies
  • Private care homes
  • Social work agencies
  • NHS trusts
  • Prisons.

For further info go to

This is not exactly an easy option, as it takes a number of years to become fully qualified. However, it also a very rewarding career path, presenting new challenges every day.

As a doctor or surgeon you will provide medical and personal advice and reassurance, treat illnesses and symptoms and work with other medical professions to improve the health and wellbeing of patients.

Allied Health Professionals
Allied Health Professionals are considered vital to today’s healthcare system. They complement the more traditional medical practices to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of our population.

They work slightly different from other medical professions as they often work in an autonomous way handling their own patients and caseloads. However, they often work as part of a wider team of professionals, working towards patient recovery or a higher standard of living.

Work environments include hospitals, clinics, people’s homes and educational facilities.

The following areas fall into the Allied Health Profession sub sector:

  • Art therapies
  • Chiropody and podiatry
  • Dietetics
  • Orthoptics
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Prosthetics and orthotics
  • Psychology
  • Psychotherapy
  • Radiography
  • Speech and language therapy.

Armed Forces & Defence

Royal Navy
For those of you who have over 180 UCAS points, there is a number of roles and specialism which are open to you, depending on your skills and interests.
Job roles include:

  • Warfare Officer
  • Submariner
  • Aircrew Officer Pilot or Observer
  • Air Traffic Control Officer
  • Logistics Officer.

Specialisms in the Royal Marines include:

  • Heavy Weapons Officer
  • Intelligence Officer
  • Physical Training and Sport Officer
  • Weapons Training Officer
  • Staff Officer
  • Pilot
  • Landing Craft Officer
  • Mountain Leader
  • Signals Officer
  • Special Boat Service Officer.

If you have under 180 UCAS points, there is a wider range of jobs available but you may be starting at a slightly lower level and the salary package reflects this.

Go to for more information.

There are four different career paths available in the RAF. You can join as an officer and specialise in different areas such as logistics, dentistry and flying; non-commissioned Aircrew; Airmen or airwomen; and RAF Regiment.

Within the British Army, the areas which you can go into includes combat, engineering, HR & finance, intelligence, IT & communications, logistics & support, medical and music and ceremonial.

Other defence organisations
Other affiliated defence organisations include the Defence Engineering and Science Group (DESG) and the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (dstl). If you are studying a science or engineering subject then you can join these organisations to support the MOD in their defence projects.


Differences in teaching comes mainly from the age of the pupils. Primary, secondary, college and university teaching each comes with its own challenges and opportunities.

As a primary school teacher you will have to teach all subjects to a certain level as well cope with the behaviour of younger children. As the children progress with age, teachers tend to specialise. The higher the educational institution, the more in-depth the teaching and therefore teachers will need to know their area of expertise better.

Particularly in demand at the moment are teachers for maths, physics, chemistry and foreign languages.

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