https://governmentscienceandengineering.blog.gov.uk/2019/04/23/progressing-with-pride/

Progressing with Pride

Lots of work has been put into achieving the top goals set out for the GSE Profession, alongside diversity and inclusion which runs through everything we do. I wanted to share with you things I think are of particular significance to our members. These include sharing and showcasing the fascinating and important work we do, looking at breaking the ‘specialism glass ceiling’, and rethinking our attitudes to how we recognise talent in GSE.

Be proud of what you do

To build pride in being a GSE member and ensure we are used across government we need to let others know exactly how valuable our work is and how it can be used. I am proud of the exciting and incredible range of scientific and engineering skills our members draw on, and want us to be able to tell a wide range of audiences of our successes. A first step to this is creating ‘My Science’ videos which will showcase some of our stories with high impact. This is about you telling your science stories.

I have also asked departmental Heads of GSE Profession to help us contribute more to the GSE blog and use this as a tool to make everyone aware of GSE events that are taking place across departments. By showcasing the breath of activity across the Profession, the GSE Board aim to encourage future talent to join us and let others know what it means to be a GSE member.

Sir Patrick Vallance poses for a group photo with interns.
Sir Patrick Vallance meets with Government Office for Science interns.

A fresh look on talent

Nurturing talent, skills and capabilities remains a priority for us and I believe this constantly needs to be reviewed to ensure we are at the top of our game. The latest GSE Profession Board highlighted two ways in which this can be done.

The first is to review how we think about apprenticeships. There is a great opportunity here and one that I was slow to recognise in my last job. Only when I came into contact with the apprentices in the R&D scheme at GSK (where I was working) did the full potential really hit me. They were brilliant, the opportunity was evident and the diversity was compelling. We need to realise the potential for apprentice schemes and promote opportunities. We are currently exploring apprenticeship offerings throughout the profession with external providers.

The second is making sure we constantly review and improve the Science & Engineering Fast Stream (SEFS). A review of the SEFS is underway, and  the Fast Streamers attending the last GSE board shared their views. This review will cover, amongst other things, the placements offered, growing the number of SEFS places year-on-year, and considering where SEFS graduands go at the end of the scheme.

Recognising all members

Recognition is crucial for building a strong and positive profession and I was pleased to hear some constructive points raised from departmental Heads of Professions on this. One thing that struck me was the mention of a ‘specialist glass ceiling’ that really summed up some of the issues felt by our members when it came to reward and recognition. I want every GSE member to feel that they can progress their careers, whether specialist or not, and much of the work we are looking at in the profession focuses on creating opportunities for all.

I want to ensure we have clear, up-to-date career pathways for all members. As was decided at the last Profession board, we are completely reworking our existing career framework, aligning it to Success Profiles, and making sure there is a route for progression for all members of GSE, whether a deep-specialist or generalist.

I want this new framework, the GSE Skills Model, to be highly compatible with those of other professions, making sure that you, our members, have clear insight into where your careers can take you.

Finally, we are looking closely at our diversity and inclusion approach as a profession. For me, it is key to ensure as many voices are heard as possible. To that end I am created a Shadow Board to sit alongside the GSE Profession Board. This will provide a far broader set of members the opportunity to contribute to the highest-level decision-making on behalf of the profession. Please get in contact with the GSE team if you are interested in this opportunity.


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