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!
What is the Civil Service?
Why Is the Civil Service so Successful?
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.
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
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.