News story

Government internship scheme: experiencing life in Whitehall

From school corridors to the corridors of Whitehall: youngsters get to experience life in government in a 2-week internship.

76 talented Year 12 students will be in the thick of it from today as they begin a 2-week internship working in government departments across Whitehall.

Earlier this month 20 students completed similar work placements in government departments based in Scotland.

The Civil Service Whitehall Internship Scheme is delivered in partnership with the Social Mobility Foundation and provides work placements at the heart of government for youngsters from low income and ethnic minority backgrounds.

The scheme was developed in 2011 as part of the government’s social mobility strategy and aims to:

  • promote social mobility
  • increase civil service diversity by targeting under-represented groups
  • raise career aspirations and increase awareness of the civil service as an employer of choice
  • provide skills and experiences that can be harnessed in the search of, or during, future employment

Launching the Whitehall programme, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Senior Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Minister for Faith and Communities said:

This government is committed to social mobility and it is vital that we back this up with action. We want all young students to have the opportunity to gain experience in any area of work and their background or financial circumstances should be no barrier.

Fully funded internship schemes like this are a great way to achieve this and will boost the career aspirations of young people from all parts of the country.

I look forward to welcoming this year’s interns and hope that it gives them the confidence and determination to let nothing hold them back from reaching their goals.

Sir Bob Kerslake said:

I’m very proud that the civil service is leading by example in supporting the government’s commitment to social mobility and giving young people from all backgrounds vital professional skills and experience.

In order to serve the country most effectively the civil service needs to attract the best talent and reflect the society that it serves. This internship programme will give an insight into work at the heart of government to young students who may otherwise have felt it was not a realistic career choice for them.

I’m sure the students taking part will find it an exciting experience and I hope to welcome many of them back as full time civil servants in years to come.

The interns come from schools across the country and departments in which they have been placed include:

  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • HM Treasury
  • Ministry of Defence
  • Home Office

Over the next 2 weeks they will undertake meaningful work, and have the opportunity to engage with ministers and senior civil servants and see how the work they do can make a difference to peoples’ lives in the UK.

The Social Mobility Foundation will provide evening activities which will range from social events to workshops on university applications and business-focused activities.

David Johnston from the Social Mobility foundation said:

We are delighted to be working with the government on this important initiative to open up Whitehall for talented young people from around the country. This is now the third year of the programme and we know from previous years that it has a considerable impact on the focus and aspirations of participants.

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