Press release

Students from under-represented backgrounds continue to benefit from Whitehall internships

Whitehall’s Internship Programme for students from under-represented backgrounds today enters its second year.

CAB 022-12 

Whitehall’s Internship Programme for students from under-represented backgrounds today enters its second year. After a successful first year, the scheme is once again open to applications from eligible Year 12 students from across the country.

The government made a commitment in the coalition agreement to provide internships in every department for under-represented groups, including Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities, and piloted a two week summer internship, announced by the Deputy Prime Minister as part of the Social Mobility Strategy, last year.

The evaluation of the pilot found that 9 out of 10 students felt their expectations of the programme had been met or exceeded, and saying they didn’t think they would have been able to do an internship without this programme.

As of today, talented Year 12 students from across the country can log on to www.socialmobility.org.uk to apply for one of the 60 fully-funded residential placements.

The Social Mobility Foundation, which delivered the pilot in partnership with the Government last year, has won the contract to oversee the application process as well as the complementary programme of activities for the students, which includes sightseeing / theatre trips and skills sessions.

Launching the second year of the Internship Programme Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, Minister without Portfolio, said:

Internships can give ambitious young adults a vital first foot on the career ladder, enabling them to gain exposure to the workings of government, obtain valuable professional experience, and give them an opportunity to build their leadership skills.

For too long internships have been a closed shop - benefiting those whose family know the boss and those with the financial means. This programme was developed to support students from under-represented groups and we are determined that under this government young people from all backgrounds will benefit. I am so proud that we are trailblazing fully funded internships in every government department.

Following last year’s pilot, I’m delighted that the summer internship programme is now opening its doors for business once again.

The Head of the Civil Service, Sir Bob Kerslake, said:

The Civil Service offers excellent career opportunities for talented young people from all backgrounds. The two week internships programme offers students the chance to get a taste of life in Whitehall and see if the Civil Service could be the right career path for them. I’m delighted that following a successful pilot we’re now able to run the summer internship programme for a second year.

David Johnston, Chief Executive, of the Social Mobility Foundation said:

The Social Mobility Foundation is delighted to have won the contract for this important programme. Young people from less privileged backgrounds struggle to gain first-hand experience of professions and so programmes like this are essential for them to be able to fulfil their potential.

Notes to Editors

  • This year’s summer internships will take place from 13-24 August 2012
  • In addition to the two week summer internship programme Whitehall also offers internships at undergraduate/ graduate level building on the existing Fast Stream internship structure, as well as a short day long programme aimed at secondary school students
  • The internship programme is fully funded; all travel, accommodation and some meals will be provided from a central budget. Interns will also receive £25 each day to cover any expenses such as meals that are not included.
  • Interns will meet a wide range of people and gain an insight into the Civil Service. This is also an opportunity for students to build workplace skills and knowledge which can be taken forward in their education and future career.
  • Last year students were placed in 21 Departments such as the FCO, DWP, HMRC, Department of Health and the Cabinet Office, where they undertook meaningful work experience and had the opportunity to meet Ministers, Senior Civil Servants, network with other interns and participate in evening activities ranging from social and cultural events to business focused activities.

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