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Welcoming students for our first internship programme

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Ryan Mallinson, DWP Digital Academy
Ryan Mallinson, DWP Digital Academy

My name's Ryan Mallinson and I work for the DWP Digital Academy.

I've worked for the department for 8 years now, having a number of roles throughout the business. Working in the Business Transformation Group (BTG) has really given me the opportunity to utilise my skills and bring them into the workplace. It's a fresh approach fuelled by fresh thinking and exciting to be a part of.

A partnership with Leeds University

That fresh thinking was behind our new 8-week internship programme with Leeds University. The Digital Academy is about to welcome six 2nd year students into our Leeds Transformation Hub, as part of a pilot to strengthen our relationship with local universities and show students that working in government can be a real and attractive option when they leave university.

We’re going to run the internship programme as a pilot with a view to rolling it out in our other Transformation Hubs.

Designing the internship programme

A few months back, my colleagues Lara Stevenson, Judith Kendall and I headed up a workgroup to create something to not only showcase the good work of the department but also challenge the successful interns.

We constructed a schedule and set about filling in the blanks with lots of help from the feature teams based in the Transformation Hub. The feature teams are designing services around user needs using Agile, bringing together multi-disciplinary teams. This might be the first contact the interns have had not only with government but with the workplace in general and we want to equip them with the correct tools and knowledge from the outset.

The 8 weeks will start with our interns attending the Digital Academy's Foundation course where they will get an understanding of not just the ways of working in a digital environment but why we are using Agile, the benefits to users and how this is transforming DWP.

DWP's Digital Academy
DWP's Digital Academy

They’ll then spend time with colleagues in Operational Digital Services to see how our services really have an impact on our end users.

We’ve arranged for a day in a local Jobcentre Plus office to see this first-hand. We think that experience of frontline Operations is important as this really brings to life the user needs of both citizens and our Operations colleagues.

In the final two weeks of the programme our interns will take everything they've learnt and use it in delivering their own project. We’ve set them the challenge of designing the internship programme for 2017's intake of interns.

What better way for us and them (our users!) to develop something great that meets the user need?

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