My name is Ntima and I recently completed my internship at the Civil Service in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.
I applied to the Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP) earlier this year. This 6-9 week programme gives talented undergraduates and graduates from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to gain an insight into the work of the Civil Service. I had previously completed a one week Early Diversity Internship Programme (EDIP) during the Easter holiday of my first year at university, where I study Business and Management.
I was allocated to the Digital Skills and Inclusion Team, based on my interest in digital and technology. As soon as I arrived I was integrated into the team and was made to feel very welcome. The work I was exposed to was particularly interesting as digital policy is a huge part of Government’s plans.
Here are a few of the things I got to work on:
Digital Skills Partnership (DSP)
I joined the team to support the development of the Digital Skills Partnership, which was announced in the UK Digital Strategy. This partnership aims to encourage collaboration across private, public and charity sectors to create a clearer national picture of good digital skills training and support local partnerships to improve digital capability.
Its goal therefore is to encourage people at all points on the capability spectrum to develop better digital skills, whether that’s coding skills for specialists coding or ensuring everybody has access to learn basic digital skills to access government services..
My first couple of days largely consisted of attending meetings with external stakeholders and collaborating with colleagues.. I then played a key role in the organisation of the first meeting of Digital Skills Partnership stakeholders, taking responsibility for distributing invitations, addressing stakeholder queries prior to the event, and coordinating actions with Google, who hosted the event at their new Academy in central London.
At the meeting, I facilitated discussion amongst the eight stakeholders seated at my table. This was a great opportunity for me to learn about the vision for the partnership and helped me develop skills to ensure effective consultation on the DSP was carried out and recorded. I then delivered my group’s feedback to the rest of the event’s 50 attendees, which will be built into the design of the DSP.
I felt really confident and I’m sure people were not even aware I was an intern. This was great, because it proved I was being treated as a true, valued member of the team. I also helped prepare a survey which was distributed after the meeting to gather feedback and seek information, resources and support from stakeholders to help meet the DSP’s ambition.
Following a successful event, I supported my colleagues by planning the short term objectives using agile project management principles to prioritise actions.
Digital Tech and Policy Communication Strategy
The Head of Digital Inclusion assigned a project to me in the first week of my internship. My task was to lead on a Digital and Tech Policy Directorate communications strategy in the context of launching the Government’s Digital Charter. I created a tool to identify and prioritise engagement opportunities for senior government officials and Ministers.
I arranged and facilitated a number of meetings with colleagues in my team to gather feedback on the team’s current stakeholder engagement and communications strategy and how this might be improved. I then implemented these ideas and suggestions.
I had regular meetings with the Head of Digital Inclusion to update her on my progress and get her advice on my initial plans. These were really helpful because I was able to discuss my ideas and tailor the tool to her expectations.
In my final week I presented the tool at our team meeting, where it was very well received. I also took some time to talk to particular team members to explain the tool and hand over the task of managing it before I left.
My Summer at DCMS has come to an end and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here. I would definitely recommend the SDIP programme to anyone interested in a career at the Civil Service. Even individuals who have not yet considered a career in government, this internship might just convince you to pursue it!