The two week Whitehall Internship programme aimed at talented students from under-represented groups officially opened today.
Over 60 Year 12 students from across the country attended an opening ceremony with an interactive session from Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office.
The scheme is a two week residential programme for 16-18 year olds from under-represented backgrounds, including black, asian and minority ethnic communities.
The students will be placed in central Whitehall departments and undertake meaningful work. The aim of the placement is to provide the interns with a taster of the Civil Service and gain experience of a working environment. The students will also participate in evening activities and will receive skills sessions from Accenture and Clifford Chance.
Baroness Warsi, Minister without Portfolio said:
“I am excited that ten schools from around the country have chosen over 60 high achieving young adults to take part in the government’s first two week Whitehall Internship programme.
“Too often, securing an internship depends on who you know, rather than what you know. Many young people simply miss out on opportunities because they lack the necessary contacts or face financial burdens. This scheme begins to address this problem. I hope the programme will provide participants with a meaningful professional experience that will develop their transferable skills to be harnessed in future life”.
The Civil Service Whitehall Internship Scheme was announced as part of the Social Mobility Strategy in April 2011.
Three complementary programmes have been designed specifically for talented individuals from under-represented groups:
- At undergraduate/graduate level, building on the existing Fast Stream internship structure.
- At college level (Year 12), providing placements to increase professional experience and workplace skills.
- At secondary school level (Year 9), running day-long programmes that aim to broaden horizons and tackle the poverty of aspiration that holds back too many young people.