Boosting Careers: Latifah & the Civil Service Internship

What Can the Civil Service Do for Young People?

Picture of Latifah, DFF Young Person

Latifah, DFF Young Person

As a result of the Civil Service Care Leaver Internship Scheme, Latifah gained key skills on how to navigate a professional working environment. It allowed her to connect her university studies to her policy work and cemented her future career path as a young mother.

“I applied for the Civil Service Care Leaver Internship Scheme and was placed in the Department for Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS). I was part of a team that created policy for the nation’s youth and I learned so much from my internship.

When I first began my internship at DCMS I was still at university finishing my final year in Theatre and Performance. My line managers saw my passion for theatre and allowed me to share my research and developing theory with my whole directorate. This, in turn, allowed me to bridge my work between theatre and policy. From here, I was able to create effective ways of working remotely at the beginning of the pandemic. During my internship, l felt like a valuable team member because of the supportive work environment with understanding line managers and part of the department.

Some of my biggest accomplishments whilst interning at DCMS were:

  • Becoming a specialist publisher on for the youth team
  • Becoming a champion of the Care Leavers work stream
  • Being part of the Anti-racism working group
  • Sharing my thesis on ‘Renegotiating Negative Black Stereotypes’
  • Getting an extension on my internship “
Over this year so far, Drive Forward has delivered training to over 200 Civil Service line managers, ensuring that they are best equipped to effectively support our young people in the workplace, enabling them to thrive and realise their full potential

Take Each Opportunity

Latifah goes on to share her secrets to making the most of the internship: "The advice that I would give to those on the programme is: take each opportunity, enjoy the time spent on the internship - even the challenging moments. It’s a great place to explore different aspects of being a Civil Servant and what jobs are available. Your line manager is there to help and support you throughout the whole time and there are many great benefits. Grab them all! Take as much of the free training as possible and if there is a paid training that you are keen on, just talk with your line manager. All your training will help you in your journey and what you do after.
"Being a part of the Civil Service changed me and helped me to create the best me that is professionally enhanced and confident."

Ready for Success

Picture of Heaven Teshome

Heaven Teshome

Heaven is one of our Career Managers and supported Latifah with her Civil Service application, along with many other care-experienced young people over the years.

“When I met Latifah, she was completing her degree whilst raising her daughter. Although her passion was and has always been theatre and performance, she was excited to hear about the Civil Service. Latifah told me how it was important for her as a care leaver to be represented in government and have access to these competitive opportunities that are difficult to get through mainstream recruitment.

Latifah had plenty of examples that were relevant to the Civil Service based on her personal and academic life. Being a mum at such a young age has meant Latifah has had to be prepared for the unexpected and deal with things with decisive action. Latifah is also practical and understood she would need to find a financially sound job or internship once she completes her degree.  

This is why the Civil Service opportunity was ideal because it is a well-paid opportunity lasting one year with the potential for an extension. Working with Latifah it was clear she approaches advice with such maturity and openness that by being in the Civil Service she would be able to make everything a success.

The biggest challenge to supporting Latifah’s application was sticking to the 500 words! For someone eager to upskill and embrace change, my role was to help focus Latifah so she could demonstrate her skill-set effectively.”

The experience has shaped my career and provided me with stability, balance, and a brilliant working form, that I am very proud of today

The Civil Service Care Leaver Internship is a prime example of how to kickstart a young person's career. Approximately 80% of Drive Forward young people have been offered permanent employment after completing their internship!

Life After the Civil Service

“My passion for theatre has continued to grow and I haven’t left it behind!

I have created my own theatre company which is called ‘Beloved Theatre Company’. My theatre company is all about telling stories about black culture and heritage. I want to challenge stigmas and shine a light on traumatic adversity as it can lead to beautiful stories of strength, joy and love within the black community. The inspiration came from the idea of just wanting to be loved and give love because as a black woman in a modern society that isn’t always felt. I am currently looking to expand our company as we are looking to debut our first show this October as part of Black History Month and National Care Leavers’ Week. I am super excited about our upcoming piece as I take a step back from acting and become the writer and director. I can’t wait to share it with everyone. Having my own theatre company has always been my dream. I still have much work to do but I’m enjoying my process, making mistakes and learning from them.

That's Not All!

Latifah is currently working at Lambeth Local Authority as a Care-Experience Officer in the Children and Young People Social Care sector. Within her role, Latifah uses her own experience of going through the care system to advise on corporate parenting and help improve the quality of service provided to looked-after children and care leavers in Lambeth.

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; from 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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