Recruits for the UK Foreign Office spend their first few years at home, and after they have completed the training they can apply to be posted overseas. The ideal candidate will have a passion for world affairs and other cultures, and enjoy travelling and meeting new people. It is vital that they are not scared of leaving their comfort zones, and be able to work in some of the world’s most challenging countries.
If you have a keen interest in world affairs, you could become a diplomat. The British government appoints these professionals to represent the interests of the UK abroad, usually working in embassies and consulates around the world. Diplomats play a vital role in maintaining good international relations. To become a diplomat, you need to have a degree, be a British citizen and pass a series of exams.
The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office prefers candidates with a PhD or equivalent. Candidates with fieldwork experience are also preferred. A Masters degree in any field is also useful. The Diplomatic Service has specific requirements for economics. For example, an economist must have a 2:1 honours degree in economics, including at least half of the courses studied at university. Candidates may also be required to have a number of GCSEs at grade C or above.
Entry-level positions are usually at the administrative assistant and officer grade. Starting pay is usually around PS18000. If you’re interested in becoming a diplomat, you’ll need to learn the language of the host country. However, you can also choose to focus on corporate services at the FCO.
A Diplomatic Studies Programme (DSP) is a full-time postgraduate programme that combines academic and vocational education. It takes twelve months to complete. During the first nine months, students live in Oxford. The course builds on students’ academic skills and provides a thorough grounding in international affairs. After graduation, Diplomatic Studies Programme graduates will be eligible to work in the Foreign Service and in international organizations.
The entry-level grade for the Diplomatic Service is the Third Secretary. After that, they can progress to Counsellor, First Secretary, or even Ambassador. Graduates in law, economics, law, or other disciplines can apply for this role. In addition, postgraduate qualifications are not necessary but knowledge of foreign languages can help.
Obtaining a 2:2 degree
Obtaining a two-year degree in a relevant field is an important first step to become a diplomat in the UK. Usually, a candidate must be a British citizen and have lived in the UK for two years. If they do not hold this qualification, they can also apply for the government’s administrative officer entry scheme. These schemes have similar entry requirements. In some cases, a candidate can also apply for the position without having to get a degree, if they are a graduate who has studied abroad and is already working in a relevant field.
Once in the Diplomatic Service, people would also continue to take other courses, and get training in relevant areas. For example, they would be required to learn a foreign language. Once in the Diplomatic Service, the skills they acquire will be transferable to other jobs. The FCDO employs around seventeen thousand people, and has 280 diplomatic offices around the world.
As a diplomat, you would be representing the United Kingdom abroad and helping British citizens face serious problems abroad. You would be based in London and work in one of the country’s embassies or consulates overseas. This means that you would be traveling a lot and interacting with different cultures. The career is not for everyone, however; you will have to be comfortable in a difficult environment.
If you are a civil servant and would like to become a diplomat, you can apply for the Diplomatic Studies Programme at Oxford University. This course is a one-year course that combines academic and vocational study. The programme consists of four taught courses, and a dissertation. During the course, you will work with students from all over the world, so you’ll have an international perspective. The course is also an excellent way to network with people working in the diplomatic field.