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Three weeks into my internship in Digital DWP

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George Cavill, Digital Intern

My name is George Charvill and I’m a digital intern at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in the Transformation Hub in Leeds. I’m studying Accounting and Finance in my second year at the University of Leeds.

I’ve just completed my third week with the Digital Academy and have already found it to be very different to my expectations of DWP and working within government services as a whole.

Learning about Agile in the Digital Academy

I spent the first 2 weeks of my internship on the Digital Academy Foundation course learning the Agile manifesto alongside colleagues from Leeds University who are also on the internship, as well as people from DWP and HMRC. The course itself was a great mixture of learning new skills and functions for building digital services, and different interactive tasks to help build teamwork and a better understanding of working in an Agile way.

The mixture of different personalities worked perfectly during our project as it allowed us to combine different skill sets and bring many different ideas which we were able to put forward to the group. As a result, the course has allowed me to develop more self-confidence and skills which I will be able to take into any professional environment.

A day in a Jobcentre Plus office

Following the Foundation course, and a well needed day off, the Digital Academy team had arranged for us to visit a Jobcentre Plus office and see how the services that DWP provide are used in a customer-facing environment. It was a very eye-opening day which allowed me to see how citizens rely on the services. This was echoed by the other interns.

Looking forward to getting stuck in

Although I enjoyed my trip to the Jobcentre I couldn’t wait to get back to the Transformation Hub and get stuck in to what promised to be a challenging but enjoyable few weeks. It's great to have a chance to improve such an important nationwide service and hopefully I will be able to bring some new ideas which will help some of the users I saw during my visit to the Jobcentre Plus office.

Lewis, George and Emily (L-R), Digital Interns
Lewis, George and Emily (left to right), Digital Interns

Joining a digital service team

I've also had the opportunity to work with the Secure Communications team. They are building an enabling service that authenticates third party healthcare professionals and lets them securely send information to the department. I spent the first 2 days getting to know the service, working closely with Adam, the Product Owner, who took time to explain some of the challenging problems they face. The following 2 days consisted of addressing some of the team’s issues around the complexity of their kanban board.

George and Holly at the kanban board
George and Holly at the kanban board

I was able to use the freshness of my Agile training along with some research into other teams’ methods to help redesign the board in a more efficient manner. It was great to be able to use the training in a real environment and be able to add value to the team, something which can be difficult to do as an intern coming into a very experienced and established team. Hopefully this is something I will be able to build on going into new projects in the next few weeks and I'll be able to bring a new perspective to different problems.

My experience so far

So far, my experience at DWP has been nothing but positive, being able to be part of the change towards working in an Agile way. My view of government prior to the internship was far from what I experienced in the first few weeks of my internship and I am thoroughly looking forward to working in such a friendly and open-minded environment.

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