4 international things I’ve done on the Fast Stream

by Ruth Turner, Fast Streamer and KCL graduate, @ruthturner2

When I graduated from King’s, I had no idea what to do next. I just knew I wanted to do something ‘international’.

Graduating with an MA in International Relations

The Civil Service didn’t cross my mind… surely that was for fusty people who liked a nice safe desk job in the UK?

Wow — I had no idea what was to come.

Since joining the Civil Service, I’ve had the pleasure of working on a whole host of international issues…. (deep breath) UN World Health Assembly, UN Human Rights Council, G7, G20, Commonwealth, UK Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies, global polio eradication, Brexit, the UK’s trade strategy AND EVEN a secondment to an international development charity, the GravityLight Foundation.

So I thought I’d share a few memorable moments to open the eyes of the next generation of internationally-inclined graduates to what the Fast Stream can offer…

  1. Talking to foreign diplomats about breast milk
Representing the UK at the United Nations

During my posting at the Department of Health, I was part of a delegation sent to Geneva to negotiate UN resolutions at the World Health Assembly. I represented the UK at negotiations related to, among other things, WHO guidance on foods for infants and young children. This meant lengthy discussions with diplomats from all over the world, as well meeting concerned NGOs and industry.

2. ‘Brexit means Brexit’

On the Fast Stream, you are offered many opportunities to learn and develop new skills — not all of them crop up where you expect. A few weeks after the EU referendum result was announced, I was asked to cover for a colleague in what was to become the Department for Exiting the EU. I was there in its very first week, handling parliamentary questions about Brexit.

3. Discussing international trade in a Christmas jumper

My colleagues enjoying Christmas Jumper Day

I was working in the Strategy Team of UK Trade and Investment. One day I was called away from a Christmas Jumper Day event to attend a briefing with the Minister. Luckily, the Minister did not bat an eyelid when I arrived in a Rudolf jumper complete with 3D nose.

4. Travelling across Kenya with a 50-night roadshow

Being interviewed about GravityLight’s research

For my six-month secondment outside of Government, I was posted to the GravityLight Foundation. GravityLight is a light powered by the lift of a weight. Bill Gates called it a ‘pretty cool innovation’. I spent two months in Kenya leading research to see if the local people would be equally enthusiastic.

So there you have it — four quick snapshots of international work I’ve done on the Fast Stream (all while being a Generalist).

If you’d like to know more about how you could join the Fast Stream, check out www.faststream.gov.uk, follow us on Twitter @faststreamKCL or email us at faststreamKCL@gmail.com.