What is it like being a DfT SDIP intern? 

Seeking insight into the world of the Civil Service, over 5000+ students and recent graduates applied for our multi-award-winning Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP)!

We seek diversity in the public sector, programmes like SDIP help us to be more creative and innovative when making decisions. Working together allows us to gather ideas from a wider range of perspectives and produce outcomes that are both beneficial and more representative of the larger society.

The SDIP interns, who come from a variety of backgrounds, including those who are members of ethnic minorities, have disabilities, or are socially or economically disadvantaged, do more than just support new viewpoints.

It gives us, at DfT, an opportunity to showcase why we, as an employer, are a brilliant and accommodating place to work for everybody while recognising emerging talent.

What do Interns get up to?

Interns gain practical hands-on experience conducting their own research and discovering for themselves what it’s like to work for us! Opportunities are available to shadow top civil servants, collaborate on real-time project-related work, and help in the creation of policy documents.

Mentoring Opportunities and Career Help

The 6–9 week scheme also gives interns the chance to learn more about the Fast Stream and other entry routes into the Civil Service. The Cabinet Office, the main organiser, arranges regular panels, ‘Lunch and Learns’, and networking events to get the most out of the experience. 

Supported by line managers and Fast-Streamer mentors, interns also have the opportunity to work towards a ‘Fast-Pass’ which is granted based on their performance during the programme. This streamlines their application during the selection process should they want to apply for the graduate scheme.  

We asked a DfT intern who is currently on the programme to give their thoughts so far…

Bruna Joaquim ,

SDIP Intern

“What I’ve enjoyed the most about my internship with the Civil Service is the friendly and welcoming culture of the Department.

Everyone I have come across is happy and willing to share their experiences, help you build your knowledge, and point you in the right direction when you need help”

Hi Bruna, tell us a bit about yourself:

I’m Bruna, I’m 25 and I live in Guildford. I’m originally from, and spent my childhood in, Brazil before moving to the UK at secondary school age. I have completed a bachelors and a masters degree in architecture and have been working towards becoming a fully qualified UK architect.

Before working at DfT my only office work experience has been in the private sector. I worked in an architecture practice specialising in high-end residential projects, so it was a very different atmosphere and culture to the Civil Service.

What department have you been assigned to?  

I’ve been assigned to the Department for Transport in the Economy, Union and Levelling Up Directorate (EULU).

Talk us through your project:

Within EULU I sit in the Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland Division in the Union Capability team. My team is working hard to raise the standard of knowledge and profile of ‘delivering UK wide’ across the department. This means encouraging other teams to include all four nations of the UK in their strategy, policy, and delivery, as well as providing support for how to do this.

I’ve been tasked with putting together a Learning and Development database about transport devolution and the devolved governments to be shared with teams across the department. I’ve also been asked to support with the creation of a ‘Delivering UK Wide’ webinar that will form part of our directorate launch and raise awareness of our team’s work and our purpose across the department.

My team has also been extremely supportive of me seeking out experiences outside my main tasks. They have helped me identify individuals in other teams and even other departments that can help me make the most of my internship. For example, due to my background in architecture and interest in planning, I’ve been encouraged to contribute to the Planning Policy team’s work on the Manual for Streets and I’ve also shadowed the Head of Architecture in DLUHC.

How have you found the internship so far? 

What I’ve enjoyed the most about my internship with the Civil Service is the friendly and welcoming culture of the Department. Everyone I have come across is happy and willing to share their experiences, help you build your knowledge, and point you in the right direction when you need help. As a result, you get settled in and develop within your team very quickly.

Why did you choose to take part in the internship? 

I am very interested in built environment regeneration and public sector urban development. However, I never felt that my degree and work experience in the private sector sufficiently exposed me to the policy and planning matters that affect built environment projects and decisions. This led me to seek out opportunities in government in order to understand better how these decisions are made and the people behind them. 

Currently, something I am sinking my teeth into is working with different cloud providers. All of my training and experience so far has been working with Amazon Web Services. However, my squad has recently been given more opportunities and exposure to work with Microsoft Azure. For me, this means getting stuck into some online learning that we have available to us and familiarising myself with the different platform and all the services Azure has to offer, which is interesting to say the least!

Final Thoughts…

The journey into the Civil Service need not end once the programme is over…

Many interns have already been welcomed into DfT, gaining the skills, confidence, and support needed to succeed in their application during the six weeks. 

Last year DfTc hosted 44 SDIP interns; of these, a third requested an extension on their contracts, continuing to learn and develop new skills within their particular departments. While penultimate-year students, who had successfully completed the internship, returned to university with a “Fast Pass” demonstrating that they had reached their objectives while working at the DfT, proceeding directly to the assessment centre the next year for the graduate scheme.

“You never know until you try, …embrace every opportunity that presents itself”

Lucia’s advice to people looking into the Civil Service?

Lucia Henry, an SDIP alumni, now works at DfT as an Assistant Contract Manager. After initially extending her SDIP contract by six months, Lucia decided that a job in the public sector was something she would like to pursue and applied for a full-time position at DfT. Just three weeks in but already feeling like she belongs!

Wondering what opportunities you can get involved in?

written by: Eleanor Hughes