Like many of you, before graduating I was unsure what my future career would look like. Whilst in my final year, I mainly searched for opportunities in the NGO sector in the hopes I would stumble across my dream job. I hadn’t considered working for the government until I saw the Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP) promoted on Guardian Jobs. From the advertisement, it looked like a great opportunity to gain insight into how the Civil Service works and prepare candidates for their graduate scheme, Civil Service Fast Stream. So, I decided to give it a shot and apply. This process involved completing online tests and an interview. I was thrilled when I had been accepted and placed in the Department for Education where I worked on delivering some of the government’s apprenticeship projects.
Over my placement, I set 3 objectives with my manager which I aimed to achieve by the end of my contract to receive a Fast Pass. This is a voucher code you can use to apply for the graduate scheme fast-tracking you to the assessment centre stage (on the condition that you meet your goals). Some of my targets included developing a toolkit for local authorities to raise the value of apprenticeships and delivering workshops for the 5 Cities project which aimed to increase BAME representation in apprenticeships.
My experience was truly a whirlwind and I loved every second of it. Not only was the project work fulfilling, but I was able to see how policies were implemented and I got the opportunity to work towards achieving them. The SDIP experience was great not only in developing my interests in the education sector, but there were several opportunities to get involved in a variety of additional events and workshops. These included a crisis management workshop, fundraising for charity with other interns, and tours of the Houses of Parliament.
One of the highlights from my experience was hosting workshops with training providers across the country to understand what barriers prevent BAME individuals from applying to apprenticeship programmes. This presented the opportunity to discuss how these can be overcome and what support the government could provide in doing so.
Throughout this internship, I had great development opportunities and the experience helped me discover where my interests lie, what skills I have and where I can improve. It has also sparked my interest in pursuing a career in the public sector which is why next September I will be applying for the graduate programme, and soon I will be starting a placement in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
So, next September if you are uncertain about what you should do after graduating, I would highly recommend checking your eligibility and applying for SDIP or the Fast Stream (the links are below). And one piece of advice I would give to you all is that it’s okay not to know what you want to do or have a plan for your long-term career. But there are still steps you can take in figuring out what you’re passionate about. For some of you, this could be one of the many options!
Amrit Kaur Gill