At a fascinating time in British political history, Griffith University alumnus James Boyle is thriving as part of the UK Civil Service’s prestigious and influential graduate degree program. And he is keen to acknowledge Griffith University’s role in the process.
Out of 45,000 applicants, James was one of about 1000 to be accepted into the Civil Service Fast Stream program, which develops the craft of the next generation of senior civil servants.
“I currently work with the team that maintains the digital UK tax platform. We are responsible for the systems and processes that enable citizens and businesses to pay their taxes online or via apps,” says James.
“Being a digital team, there is a big emphasis on continual improvement of our service offerings to the public, and to maintain the security and reliability of the system.”
Graduating from Griffith with a Bachelor of Arts (History and Politics) in July 2016, James has since gained a Master of Arts (Political Economy) at prestigious King’s College, London. The qualifications are serving him well, and will continue to do so.
“I firmly believe that the combination of people and structures are the best way to address the complex and contingent policy problems that governments of the next few years will face,” he says. “Ultimately, I’d like to work with governments to ensure their settings and institutions enhance success.”
Born in Canberra and raised in Brisbane, James studied at University of Queensland before attending Australian National University in Canberra. However, these were unsettled experiences. Returning to Brisbane to work for the Queensland Government, he began part-time study at Griffith.
When his wife Emma received the Sir John Monash Scholarship, the couple moved to England where Emma is at Oxford University pursuing her DPhil in climate and atmospheric dynamics over southern Africa.
James’ career is unfolding amid stirring political circumstances, dominated by Britain’s scheduled exit from the European Union in March 2019.
“Civil service work is currently divided into three categories — digital transformation, business as usual, and Brexit,” he says. “Brexit cuts across almost every policy domain and every department and so systems need to be in place for the day the UK is outside the Eurozone. That doesn’t give a lot of time.”
Still, James might not be working in England at all were it not for the efforts of Griffith staff. He makes special mention of Dr Jeanne McConachie, manager of the Griffith Honours College, and Ms Stacey Vercoe, from Student Administration.
“Jeanne made sense of the nebulous web of ideas and half-formed thoughts I had about government,” he says. “Then after I expressed an interest in moving to the UK, she encouraged me to apply for a Master’s and helped with my application.
“After I received a conditional offer, I was fortunate enough to contact Stacey. Initially she wasn’t confident that my results would be available in time for the July 2016 graduation. But she went above and beyond to ensure I was able to graduate in time to take up my Master’s in London in September that year.”
James strongly urges other students to take advantage of Griffith’s support and services.