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Students from under-represented groups get a taster of the Civil Service

Sir Gus O'Donnell, Head of the Civil Service and Cabinet Secretary, hosts a reception for over 70 interns who took part in the Summer Diversity Internship programme.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

8 September 2011

Sir Gus O’Donnell, Head of the Civil Service and Cabinet Secretary, tonight hosts a reception for over 70 interns who were part of the Summer Diversity Internship programme, aimed at people from ethnic minority and under-represented socio-economic backgrounds.
The programme provides real life experience on how a department operates, policy areas they are responsible for and how their work impacts on the UK and wider world. The placements also provide a more thorough understanding of the type of work Fast Streamers do in the Civil Service.
Interns from across the country undertook a six to nine week full-time work placement in Fast Stream type posts across all Departments. They were involved in stretching and challenging project related work ranging from research and assisting on policy documents to shadowing senior civil servants and attending critical meetings.
Sir Gus O’Donnell, Head of the Civil Service and Cabinet Secretary said:

The Civil Service is committed to improving the diversity of the organisation and understands that we need a diverse workforce with different perspectives to deliver the work we do.

“This programme was developed to provide an insight into the range of opportunities across the Civil Service and to encourage under-represented groups to think about the Civil Service as an employer of choice.
“I have already heard from a range of talented individuals who have really made the most of their placements and I know departments that have really benefited from having fresh perspectives to draw upon and question the way we do things.

Natasha Gasson, studying Law at The London School of Economics said:

During my time at the Home Office, I have been privileged to work on interesting and sometimes high-profile tasks. These have included drafting briefing packs for the Home Secretary, facilitating work around the riots in London and working with colleagues to design a flexible deployment model for the Crime and Policing Group. The work has been exciting, challenging and has really given me a glimpse of life as a civil servant.

Jamal Hussein studying History at UCL undertook his internship at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs:

I have particularly enjoyed working among a number of exceptionally talented people, from whom I have learnt a great deal regarding the different stages in the construction of policy and its implementation.

Some of the projects I have worked on included a literature review of corporate behavioural change associated with waste prevention at Defra’s Centre for Influencing Behaviour, as well as identifying measures to improve our implementation of EU directives within the Horse ID Programme.

The Whitehall Internship Programme

The Whitehall Internship Programme comprises of three complementary internship schemes designed for graduates and undergraduates, college students and secondary students who come from under-represented groups, including Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities and people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. 

  • Fast Stream Summer Diversity Internship (undergraduates and graduates): This established scheme is designed to help students develop their skills and career prospects and give a taste of the wide ranging opportunities the Civil Service can offer. Applications for the 2012 Summer Diversity Internship Programme open on 1 November 2011.
  • College level (16-17 year olds): This scheme has been designed to offer school leavers two weeks meaningful work experience in the Civil Service.  
  • Secondary school level (13-14 year olds): This scheme will be a day long programme where students come to Whitehall to meet senior figures and build knowledge of the Civil Service and working in a professional environment.
Published 8 September 2011