Policy adviser

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Alan Hayes is a trainee manager on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Fast Stream accelerated training and development programme. His current role is to help improve the UK's competitiveness in scientific areas.

How have you found your first year on the Fast Stream programme?

I have found my colleagues to be friendly and supportive, especially when I was still finding my feet. Some of them are very passionate about what they do and why they do it, and you find it does rub off on you!

Why did you choose to enter the Civil Service?

Working in industry didn't really appeal to me, as it would take years for me to move into policy work – the area I was interested in.Working in the Civil Service gave me the opportunity to do this from the start.

I knew that working in the Civil Service would be challenging, and I have not been disappointed. I have been given responsibility and feel that the work I do really does make a difference to people in this country.

Is there anything you dislike about your work?

You occasionally find that the best-laid plans do not necessarily give you the result you hoped for, but that's what life in government is sometimes like.

What are your future plans?

I'm looking to go on to a second posting that gives me a different view of the DTI's work, either something involving closer work in and around parliament, or in Europe. In the long term, I'm looking forward to staying in science-related areas as I take on more responsibility in the department.

Alan's route to a career as a Policy adviser

  • A levels in maths, further maths, physics and chemistry.
  • MEng degree in Chemical Engineering.
  • MPhil in Engineering and Sustainable Development.
  • Gained Fast Stream entry into the DTI.

Alan's Policy adviser tips

  • Try to keep yourself up-to-date with current affairs.
  • Be confident in what you know and what you don't. Do offer your opinion and don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
  • Always try to consider all sides of an issue, and the resulting implications, before you act.

Policy adviser related jobs












  • Company director
  • Company secretary
  • Economic development officer
  • EU official
  • Research scientist

Salary of a Policy adviser

  • Fast Stream trainees in the DTI start at £21,100.
  • Once they progress to senior management level, salaries start at £36,720. Salaries are slightly higher in London.

Becoming a Policy adviser

  • To enter the DTI's Science and Engineering Fast Stream programme, you need to have a first or second class honours degree in a relevant subject such as science, engineering, computing, mathematics or another numerate discipline. You must also take entry tests, including assessment centre tests. Entry is very competitive.
  • The Fast Stream programme is a four-year training and development package, which leads to senior management posts. Training involves a series of intensive job placements, during which you move between projects and sections within the DTI. Each placement lasts about 12 to 18 months.
  • Training takes place mainly on the job. You gain experience by working on projects under the supervision of experienced staff. There are also some formal training courses and you may work towards professional management qualifications.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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