The Fast Stream has achieved its target of recruiting half of its graduate cohort from science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) backgrounds this year, the Cabinet Office has announced.
Simon Case, the cabinet secretary, announced the target in February during his second annual lecture at Bristol University on 25 January, saying the government would "bring in the brightest and best scientists, engineers, technologists and mathematicians from across the country into the heart of all the policymaking and design work around public service".
The Cabinet Office said in its announcement that the Fast Stream has "exceeded" the 50% target.
Cabinet Office minister Jeremy Quin said achieving the goal is "an important step forward in building a modern civil service which can deliver more efficient services for the British public".
“We’re taking long-term decisions that will put innovation at the very core of policy making – attracting the best scientists, engineers, technologists and mathematicians from across the UK into the heart of government," he added.
In Case's lecture, he also said 50% of the generalist Fast Stream grad intake would be from STEM backgrounds – a goal the Cabinet Office confirmed it had achieved. The generalist scheme has since been split in two.
The Cabinet Office added that it is boosting STEM skills across the civil service. It said this will bring "fresh perspectives to policy making so the government can better deliver on the people’s priorities and bring lasting change to communities up and down the country".
Applications for the 2024 Fast Stream intake opened on 12 October and close on 9 November at noon.
The Fast Stream will aim for 50% of its graduate intake to have STEM degrees again in 2024, the Cabinet Office said.
As the scheme is open to current civil servants, with or without a degree, the target only applies to external applicants.