Creating Career Opportunities: The Civil Service

What is the Civil Service Internship Scheme?

The Civil Service Care Leaver Internship Scheme provides ring-fenced 12-month paid employment opportunities for care leavers aged 18-30 across the country. With no formal qualifications required, the scheme is a prime example of potential-based recruitment.

This extraordinary initiative has come a long way since the first Drive Forward interns joined the Department for Culture, Media and Sports in 2016. The Civil Service Care Leaver Internship scheme has grown to offer some 500 ring-fenced opportunities to care-experienced young people across the UK annually. With the recent publication of the Independent Review of Children’s Social Care calling for at least 3,500 new jobs or apprenticeships, we need more schemes like this!

In 2020, despite the additional challenges posed by the pandemic, our team supported over 70 young people with their applications and 52 of them have successfully started their positions!

What is the Civil Service?

The Civil Service helps the government of the day implement its policies as effectively as possible across the UK. With roles in 25 professions such as legal, property, IT, HR, this internship scheme offers something for everyone.

Why Is the Civil Service so Successful?

Data from previous years shows that approximately 80% of Drive Forward young people have been offered permanent employment after completing their internship!

The Civil Service does not just pride itself as a role model for diverse recruitment, but also demonstrates the power of supportive and informed management. This is thanks to the extensive training line-managers receive from our team and volunteers. 

Over the course of the year, we have delivered training to over 200 Civil Service line managers. This ensures that they are best equipped to effectively support our young people in the workplace, enabling them to thrive and realise their full potential.

At Drive Forward, we believe in supporting everyone who works with us, including partners, supporters and new employers! By having ongoing training with us, care-experienced young people can feel confident in knowing they can approach their line managers for help. By increasing awareness and understanding, line managers can also feel confident in their ability to facilitate a great internship experience.

We ensure every partner, supporter and potential employer is supported through any work opportunity by providing them with a dedicated Account Manager. This is their point of contact for training, guidance and questions pre, during and post placement!

What does the Training involve?

Our training is also care-experienced led! In our last training session we were joined by Farhia, who completed the internship scheme and now works in the Department of Health and Social Care. Farhia spoke about the ways that care leavers are well placed to understand the public institutions as a result of their time in care. This means that care-experienced young people have a lot to offer compared to their non care-experienced peers. Farhia also explained the ways in which line managers can create an atmosphere conducive to a successful placement. Being compassionate, supportive and avoiding sensitive questions about a person’s time in care can help make young people feel more comfortable.

Experience on all sides

Rachel Neuer

Rachel Neuer

Rachel Neuer is a Careers Manager at Drive Forward and has not only worked with over 500 care-experienced young people but also delivers Line Manager training to the Civil Service. Reflecting on the previous year, Rachel remembers one young person who was able to progress further in the Civil Service thanks to their supportive line manager:

Benjamin was working in retail at Halfords when we applied for the Civil Service. He started back in March 2021 with The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy as an Administrative Officer. He loves the job, and said everyone in the department had put him at ease straight away and was very friendly. He has learnt so much and is happy to have passed probation. His manager has been great regarding his development, and has even spoken to him about how he can get to the next grade up and stay on in the department!

More than Qualified

“I am over 2 months into my Civil Service internship, and I have already learnt so much. At the Civil Service they allow you to get used to your role and encourage questions. I’m only able to have this opportunity thanks to Drive Forward, who walked me through the application step by step and provided multiple interview prep sessions. They encouraged me to believe that I did have the skills to apply for the role and supported me through the process. It is often difficult being a care leaver and having to live independently with no support. However, as a result of this internship I feel like I am in a better position to further my career and support myself. I would encourage anyone who has an interest in working in the Civil Service to apply.” – DFF Young Person

Breaking Barriers to Employment

The Civil Service Care Leaver Internship scheme does not require any prior qualifications or work experience. Care-experienced applicants are encouraged to use examples of experiences and skills acquired across all aspects of their lives. This can be demonstrating excellent communication and conflict resolution skills when standing up for their younger siblings in school, to effective prioritisation and project management skills gained throughout their experience of moving into independent living and furnishing a home on a limited budget.

If more employers were open to the same entry requirements like the Civil Service, they would benefit immensely from the resilience, hard work and drive that care-experienced young people have to make their careers a success.  

Create A Work Placement with Us!

Drive Forward is ready to help any employer open their doors to talented care-experienced young people and see how much change they can inspire for you!

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