Tuesday 17 December 2019
Final year university student Sophie Charlotte reflects on her GCS summer internship with the Department for International Development (DFID).
“What a time it is to be a fly on the wall in Government, Sophie”, say various family members and friends of my time as an Intern with DFID Internal Comms. Although I am soon to tell them that flies don’t write intranet articles, coordinate events or shake hands with Ministers, I do get their point. It truly is an incredible time to be occupying any space within the corridors of power – and miraculously, that is how I have spent my summer.
Throughout this placement I have been assigned a huge range of interesting and challenging tasks from different communications teams. In the past I have often felt inclined to doubt myself, but in simply saying ‘yes’ and taking on exciting new responsibilities, I feel my professional confidence has flourished. Assisting in the planning and delivery of Open House London, was a particular highlight for me. I thoroughly enjoyed welcoming the public to 22 Whitehall and sharing the story of UK aid. The city-wide, annual architectural festival attracted just under 8,000 people to DFID, and so many were very curious about our role in development on a global stage. It was an excellent opportunity to communicate with the people who ultimately make the work we do possible – and especially with those marginally engaged with our objectives. From pitching an exciting media product to the press office to organising an internal Brexit event – the variety of communications experience I have gained in this short stretch of time has been unparalleled. DFID comms are a uniquely dynamic, adaptive and hard-working division.
Equally, I was taken aback by just how helpful and approachable each person has been; even the most senior team members have been so generous with their time. My time with DFID has truly been completely invaluable, both personally and professionally. Working in the heart of government and the heart of development has confirmed my career ambitions. I would highly recommend the Government Communications Service internship to any student with an interest in the Civil Service. For me, I will look back fondly on emerging from Charing Cross station, walking into Whitehall and through the doors of DFID with purpose and excitement each day.
There’s still time to apply for the GCS Internship 2020 programme! Click here to apply.