In terms of what background people have that join the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, I’ve seen a great variety. Lawyers, police officers, new graduates, teachers, linguists. What you have studied or have worked in before is not as important as the skills that you have acquired. People join at different stages of their careers, different ages, with all kinds of backgrounds, some straight from school. For those who have no work experience yet and this is the start of your career, there are still ways to show you have the necessary skills. Think about the work-related skills you have already shown, say in volunteering work, summer jobs or being on the committee of a sports team.
For those joining the Diplomatic Service in particular, an aptitude for languages is desirable, but you don’t need to have learnt a language beforehand. You could be posted anywhere in the world, so if you need a language for a posting, you will be provided language lessons. If you have learnt a language already, this will help you learn a new one. When you join, you will be asked to sit a Modern Languages Aptitude Test that assesses how well you can learn “hard” languages, such as Mandarin and Japanese, which are very different from English.
Work is constantly going on within the organisation to improve diversity, particularly at more senior levels, mainly through our Diversity Strategy. This involves changes to our recruitment methods, staff training and regular staff surveys on how we are doing, with follow up on the results. I can see these measures being taken as a staff member, but I would be interested to hear your comments on how the FCO is perceived from the outside in terms of diversity in all its forms.
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