Civil Service Fast Stream: Summer Diversity Internship Programme

How to apply for the Civil Service’s paid internship programme for disadvantaged, disabled and ethnic minority students.


The Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP) gives people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to see what a career in the Civil Service is like.

It puts talented undergraduates and graduates on a 6 to 9-week work placement in a government department. As a successful applicant, you’ll get an insight into the broad range of opportunities available across the Civil Service. By the end of the internship you should feel confident in your ability to apply for the Fast Stream.

Type of work

You’ll do challenging project-related work such as:

  • conducting research
  • supporting projects
  • assisting on policy documents
  • shadowing senior civil servants
  • attending critical meetings with senior advisors on major issues

At the end of your placement you’ll receive an appraisal report on your performance.


You can apply for SDIP in your penultimate or final year at university. This can include postgraduate studies immediately following your first degree.

You must also be one or more of the following:

  • from a black and minority ethnic (BME) background (see below)
  • socio-economically disadvantaged
  • an applicant with a disability

Candidates from these BME backgrounds can apply:

  • Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani, Chinese or any other Asian background
  • African, Caribbean or any other black background
  • White and Asian, white and black African, white and black Caribbean or any other mixed ethnic background

We measure socio-economic background using questions based on family background and other considerations.


You’ll need:

  • at least a 2.2 degree (expected or awarded)
  • a real interest in pursuing a career in the Civil Service
  • to show you can work in a team
  • to be innovative and creative
  • to be able to work with people at varying levels of ability and responsibility
  • to be motivated to help make improvements on major policy issues or on how public services are provided
  • to demonstrate the key competencies we expect from civil servants

You can apply for the SDIP regardless of whether you’ve applied for a Fast Stream scheme. However you’ll have to withdraw your internship application if you’re successful for a Fast Stream scheme in the same competition year.

You can only participate in the SDIP once.


The programme is open to European Economic Area (EEA) nationals (including British citizens), Commonwealth citizens, Swiss nationals and, in some cases, Turkish nationals.

For further details, read the Civil Service nationality rules.

How to apply

Applications for the SDIP open 12 October 2015. Apply using the Civil Service Fast Stream secure web portal.

Selection process

You’ll take the same online tests as all other applicants to the Fast Stream recruitment schemes. If you pass you’ll be asked to complete an online application. These will be used to draw up a shortlist of candidates by the end of February.

Telephone interviews will take place from March through to early April.

Department allocation

You’ll be provisionally assigned to a department if you pass the final selection interview.

You’ll need to be available for work between June and September.


The support you’ll receive will include:

  • an allocated Fast Stream buddy and a scheme manager to oversee you
  • a departmental induction
  • a corporate welcoming reception in early June and a closing reception in September involving high-profile speakers

Pay and expenses

You’ll get a training allowance of £350 per week in London or £300 outside London. Your expenses for attending corporate events will be paid.