In September, current and former Patchworkers attended an evening masterclass session with Sir Mark Sedwill, Head of the Civil Service and Cabinet Secretary. As someone who wants to work in government in the future, it was a privilege to hear from Sir Mark Sedwill.
It was an evening of learning about the Civil Service and how each department works together for the benefit of the public. I was eager to hear his story due to the unique way that he was appointed and the responsibility his position carries.
I was able to hear his story from when he first started at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office 30 years ago, where he served in Egypt, Iraq, Cyprus and Pakistan. He was the Permanent Secretary at the Home Office between 2013-2017, before being appointed as the Head of the Civil Service in 2018.
He shared his experience of the digital transformation within the Civil Service and how this can cause missed communications through communicating via email rather than face to face. He also explained how he prepares for a change in government and the challenges this brings to the Civil Service.
One piece of advice he gave to those seeking a leadership role was to “empower your team”. Empowering your team, he said, will motivate them to carry out their duties to a high standard. I certainly agree.
As for his advice for young people wanting to have a career within the Civil Service, it was:
Build the leadership muscles whilst you are young.
Don’t just think about the destination, think about the journey and enjoy the journey.
Be authentic and learn to adapt to different personalities.
He hopes his legacy will be to build a Civil Service that is diverse and inclusive for all regardless of one’s background.
Written by Adeola Gbakinro