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Civil service

All degree subjects are accepted for those wanting to enter the Civil Service Fast Stream programme, however there are different ‘streams’. Some of these are restricted to certain degree subjects. Multiple streams can be applied to but only certain combinations.

You will need at least a 2.2 for the general graduate stream which is aimed at getting you into central government departments, the diplomatic service, Houses of Parliament and science and engineering.

Other streams require you to have at least a 2.1 and can demonstrate some knowledge of the work you might be doing, or a 2.2. with a relevant postgraduate course.

Economics, statistics, research  →  Analytical stream

Interested in HR  →  HR stream

Interested and good understanding of technology  →  Technology in business stream

Other opportunities:

European and Northern Ireland fast streams
The World Health Organisation (WHO) require you to have a relevant business or science subject as well as knowledge of another language. Further up the ladder you may be required to have a masters degree as well.

To join the DfID grad scheme you will need a 2.1 or above from any subject and grade B for Maths and English at GCSE.

The UN offers internships for those with postgraduate qualifications. See their website for further details and other requirements and opportunities.

If you want to apply to the FCO economic sandwich placement you will need to apply for after your second year, have three A levels or similar with A-C grades, your course contains at least 50% economics and a British citizen.

 Intelligence services

The intelligence service GCHQ are interested in both specific subjects such as cyber security, information assurance, IT, ICT research, telecommunications engineering, maths, librarians, languages and culture specialists. Other degrees are accepted but only for their leadership development programme, language and culture specialists and corporate support.

For the GCHQ leadership development scheme, you will be required to have a 2.1 from any subject and demonstrate an impressive record of extracurricular activities.

The degree subjects which MI6 recruit from are based on the skills they give and how these apply to their graduate roles. However, no specific subjects are quoted as recruiting for specific positions.

MI5 also accept graduates from any degree background. A postgraduate course could be an advantage as 60% of applicants have a masters and 10% have a PhD. Some applicants have more professional vocational qualifications like teaching and journalism. You will however, be required to have a 2.1 in the course you study. Specific work experience may be required for certain roles.

 Emergency services

For the Fire and Rescue Services, you will not necessarily be required to reach a certain educational level but the qualities and attributes you require are very important and you will undergo a rigorous process to prove you are capable of doing the job. See skills required for more info.

Similar to the other emergency services there are no minimums in education to be become a police officer, however there are other physical and mental attributes which you must demonstrate you are fit for the job. There are written tests as part of the application process and you will be under probation for the first two years.

If you want to become an ambulance driver or paramedic you will be required to have an appropriate medical qualification. See routes into for more details.

Healthcare

Most of the professions you will find in this sector will require you to have studied the specific subject, sometimes this includes a postgraduate course as well. The exception is when you want to join the business or management side of these institutions, where good grades from a range of subjects are usually accepted.

There is also the option to join the NHS as a therapy assistant, where you will gain skills and qualifications as you work.

You will also need to register with the appropriate regulatory body, this is usually done through the Health Professions Council.

For further information on entry requirements and courses available visit NHS Careers.

Social work

It is possible to get into social work through academic and non-academic routes. However, there are a lot of social work courses available which fast track you into a role. However, there are apprenticeships available which offer on-the-job training, for those over 16 and not in full-time education. At the end of apprenticeships you would have most likely gained a Diploma in Health and Social Care.

There is also the Level 1 Award in Preparing to work in Adult Social Care which you undertake to improve your chances.

Teaching

You should have at least a C in English and Maths at GCSE. For primary school teaching you will also need grad C in science at GCSE. For some subjects you may also require a relevant degree subject particularly for secondary school teaching. Additional training can be taken if you don’t have the relevant subject. You will then be required to complete your initial teaching training, this can be done through a school or as part of your university degree. The PGCE is a postgraduate course which can help you gain your ITT.

Armed Forces

The Army require Officers to have 7 GCSE’s (or equivalent) with a min of C in English, Maths, Science or a language plus two A levels between A and E and pass a medical examination. For a soldier in the regular army you will need to be between 16 and 32 and pass a medical.

If you would like to join the RAF or the Royal Navy, similar to the Army they offer positions for a range of different academic backgrounds. You can also gain qualifications whilst part of any of the Armed Forces.

The DESG (Defence Engineering & Science Group) mostly recruit engineers, therefore you will need to have gained an appropriate engineering qualifications from university. You should have at least a 2.2 from one of the engineering disciplines. Some of the degree subjects they recruit from include:

  • Electrical/electronic
  • Mechanical
  • Marine
  • Systems
  • Aeronautical
  • IT
  • Maths
  • Physics
  • Computer Science.
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