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I encourage you to change your mindset from "I can't do that" to "how can I learn?”

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Care leavers

The Civil Service Care Leavers Internship Schemegives care leavers the chance to benefit from a 12-month paid internship in a central government department. Over 880 care leavers have been offered roles in over 26 government departments, with around 80% securing permanent roles.  

Having recently completed the internship scheme and since gained a promotion, Charlie Sanderson talks about her journey - from how she came to apply, to the advice she would give prospective applicants. 

My partner’s mum told me about the Care Leavers Internship Scheme and I decided to apply because of the stability and opportunity to grow my skills. Looking back, I wish I had taken advantage of the support available after graduating, and had more confidence in myself. I wish I didn’t view myself through such a negative lens, but rather positively for the strength and resilience I had to overcome setbacks in my life.

I started my journey in the civil service on the Care Leavers Internship Scheme in 2020, just two weeks before the pandemic hit. I was assigned to a service support team where I had the opportunity to work with developers, business analysts, and user researchers. I felt like a fish out of water at first, but my supportive colleagues were always there to guide and encourage me. I initially struggled with confidence, but my colleagues quickly helped me gain confidence to contribute to group conversations and realise the value of my ideas.

During my time on the internship, I was responsible for handling issues, bugs, and change requests for a specific system on the Get into Teaching team. I also organised data and sent out emails for events. I enjoyed working with developers and business analysts the most as it allowed me to exercise my passion for finding and solving problems.

I have since gained promotion and am now an experienced test manager, leading testing on the automation team at the Department for Education. I feel I have had the privilege of working with some amazing colleagues in the civil service.

To any care leavers considering a career in the civil service, I would urge you not to let feelings of self-doubt or a lack of experience hold you back. The civil service is a highly inclusive and supportive environment that will help you grow and develop.

If you're concerned about meeting the eligibility criteria, I encourage you to change your mindset from "I can't do that" to "how can I learn?"

Further reading

Find out more about the civil service Care Leavers Internship Scheme

Find more support and opportunities for care leavers with the Care Leaver Covenant

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