Degree: Bsc Psychology, Royal Holloway
Employer: Home Office
Prior to hearing about the Summer Development Programme (SDP), I had no intention of pursuing a career in the Civil Service. I was first told about the scheme during my final year, by a friend at University who was thinking of applying. As I was thoroughly enjoying my Psychology Degree and was predicted to do very well, I was set on going straight into research. However, I thought that the scheme would offer me both a productive way to spend the summer, and a chance to gain some valuable work experience relevant to my research interests, so I applied.
I was fortunate to successfully gain a placement at the Home Office which was my first choice department, and I had a truly amazing experience. I was placed in the Change and Support Unit, which provides corporate support to the Crime Reduction and Community Safety Group (CRCSG).
From the very first day, I was thrown into the deep end and was given a large amount of responsibility working on some important projects for the group. It was encouraging to feel that my team was investing in ensuring that I got the most out of the experience. I was often trusted to take a leading role, especially on coordinating a high profile Reprioritisation Exercise for the groups Directors. The exercise was designed to re-evaluate the group’s priorities, so that they could be better informed on the most efficient way to use resources, and was a very rewarding task. Early on in my placement, I began to develop the skills and confidence that would equip me to build a successful career in the future; my placement was extended and I was given the opportunity to spend a week in the Home Secretary’s Private Office. This was an extremely rewarding experience; I developed an insight into the culture of private office, sat in on a variety of meetings and accompanied her to Milbank and GMTV. I was also able to spend some time covering in the office of the CRCSG Director-General, and a brief time shadowing Sir David Normington, the Permanent Secretary of the Home Office.
My time at the Home Office was an extremely positive experience; I feel that the placement has been beneficial and has enabled me to enhance and develop a wide range of skills. I also feel that I have developed a greater awareness of the possibilities available to me as a graduate. It has confirmed that I would like to join the Fast Stream, and I am currently going through the application process. I have learnt a lot about the culture of the Home Office and the wider Civil Service and would recommend the Summer Development Programme to anyone.