For ambitious students and recent graduates, Civil Service internships in 2024 present a great opportunity to gain hands-on experience, develop essential skills, and understand the intricacies of government operations. These Civil Service internships can help boost your CV, as well as be a gateway to a rewarding (and often well-paying) career.

There are various Civil Service internships available in the UK for 2024. These programmes are  designed to cater to a diverse range of interests and career aspirations, from policy-making and international relations to environmental management and public finance. Whether you’re seeking to immerse yourself in the fast-paced world of government, contribute to meaningful projects, or build a network of professional contacts, these Civil Service internships provide the perfect platform.

What is the Civil Service?

Civil Service internships

The Civil Service is a fundamental pillar of the United Kingdom’s government, often described as the permanent backbone that supports the elected government in power. It’s a broad term that encompasses a wide range of government departments and agencies, each responsible for various aspects of public administration, policy implementation, and service delivery. The Civil Service operates independently of political influence, ensuring the continuity and impartiality of public services.

At its core, the Civil Service is tasked with implementing government policies and delivering services to the public. This includes everything from managing healthcare systems, overseeing education and environmental policies, to handling foreign affairs and national defence. The diversity of roles within the Civil Service is vast, reflecting the complexity and breadth of government responsibilities.

Key departments in the UK Civil Service

  • The Treasury (HM Treasury): Responsible for economic policy, financial regulation, and government expenditure. It plays a pivotal role in shaping the economic strategy of the country.
  • The Home Office: Focuses on internal affairs such as immigration, security, and law and order. It is crucial in maintaining public safety and managing borders.
  • The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO): Manages the UK’s international relations, including diplomatic missions, development aid, and global strategy.
  • The Department for Education: Oversees the education system in England, including primary, secondary, and higher education, as well as vocational training and apprenticeships.
  • The Department of Health and Social Care: Responsible for the National Health Service (NHS), public health, and social care. This department plays a critical role in managing the nation’s health and wellbeing.
  • The Ministry of Defence: Charged with implementing defence policy, managing the armed forces, and ensuring national security.
  • The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA): Focuses on environmental protection, food production, and rural affairs, playing a key role in sustainable development and conservation.
  • The Department for Transport: Manages transportation systems including roads, railways, and air travel, ensuring safe and efficient movement of people and goods.
  • The Ministry of Justice: Oversees the justice system, including courts, prisons, and probation services. It is fundamental in upholding law and order.
  • The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS): Responsible for cultural and artistic heritage, digital infrastructure, media regulation, and sports development. This department plays a vital role in enriching the cultural landscape of the UK.
  • The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy: Focuses on business support, energy policy, and industrial strategy. It’s instrumental in fostering economic growth and sustainable energy practices.
  • The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP): Manages welfare and pension policies, ensuring support for the unemployed, disabled, and elderly.
  • The Department for International Trade: Promotes international trade and investment, crucial for the UK’s global economic relationships and trade agreements.
  • The Department for Communities and Local Government: Works closely with local governments to ensure efficient delivery of services at the community level, including housing, urban planning, and local development.
  • The Cabinet Office: Provides support to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, coordinating between different government departments and overseeing the civil service’s operations.


Each of these departments plays a unique and vital role in the functioning of the country. They work in tandem to ensure that the policies set forth by the government are effectively implemented and that public services are delivered efficiently and equitably.

The Civil Service, with its diverse departments, offers a wide range of career opportunities for individuals interested in contributing to the public sector. Internships in these departments provide invaluable insights into the workings of government, the challenges of public administration, and the satisfaction of public service. For those looking to make a difference in society, a career in the Civil Service can be both rewarding and impactful.

Civil Service internships and apprenticeships 2024

Civil Service internships and apprenticeships 2024

There are currently five different early career routes with the Civil Service, which are:

1. Civil Service apprenticeships

Civil Service apprenticeships

Embarking on a Civil Service Apprenticeship in the UK means becoming part of a dedicated community focused on enhancing the nation’s well-being. As an apprentice, your role could range from supporting essential frontline services to influencing government policies, or providing vital services within the Civil Service’s corporate framework. This apprenticeship offers a rich learning environment, where you’ll gain practical experience under the guidance of field experts. By the end of your apprenticeship, you’ll emerge as a certified professional, equipped with the skills to advance in your chosen career path.

The program also emphasises the value of shared experiences and mutual growth, as evidenced by testimonials from current apprentices. Importantly, you won’t be navigating this path alone; a robust support system, including a line manager and talent coach, will be there to aid your professional development. Additionally, you’ll be part of a large community of approximately 18,500 Civil Service apprentices, all sharing a common journey of growth and learning.

2. Care Leavers Internship Scheme

The Civil Service Care Leavers Internship Scheme offers a 12-month paid internship in various government departments and agencies, specifically designed for care leavers. This flagship program provides an invaluable opportunity for these individuals to gain professional experience, with the potential for their roles to become permanent after the internship period. The scheme addresses the disparity in employment opportunities for care leavers, as recent data indicates a higher rate of unemployment among this group compared to their peers.

A key goal of the scheme is to create 3,500 annual jobs for care leavers by 2026, as part of a broader mission to enhance social mobility and support government commitments. So far, over 880 care leavers have secured roles across more than 26 government departments, with approximately 80% of these positions transitioning to permanent jobs.

Participants in the program have shared positive experiences, highlighting the diverse and dynamic nature of work in the Civil Service, the supportive work environment, and the opportunity for personal and professional growth. The scheme offers numerous benefits, including skill development, increased confidence, financial stability, and the chance to form meaningful connections with peers.

Eligibility for the scheme is open to individuals aged 18-30 who are entitled to a leaving care package and meet the Civil Service nationality requirements. No specific qualifications are required, and applications are evaluated based on criteria outlined in the job advertisement. The program emphasises a work culture that values fairness, inclusivity, respect, confidence, and engagement, seeking individuals who are creative thinkers and capable of building trusted relationships.

3. Civil Service Fast Stream

Civil Service Fast Stream

The Civil Service Fast Stream is a unique and dynamic program designed to cultivate future leaders and managers within the UK Civil Service. This prestigious program is known for its ability to accelerate careers, transforming talented individuals into the next generation of Civil Service leaders. It covers a wide range of government functions, from policy implementation to public service delivery, impacting every aspect of UK life.

The Fast Stream offers a diverse array of roles across numerous government departments, providing a rich environment for professional growth. It’s an inclusive program that values the unique skills and potential of individuals, regardless of their background, age, or degree subject. The focus is on nurturing an open-minded and determined workforce.

Recognised as a top employer, the Civil Service Fast Stream is committed to being a great place to work, with a strong emphasis on diversity, inclusivity, and social mobility. It offers competitive salaries, flexible working arrangements, and a supportive community, making it an ideal workplace for people from all walks of life.

The program includes 15 different specialist development schemes, catering to a wide range of interests and academic backgrounds. These schemes offer structured learning, on-the-job coaching, and the opportunity to pursue professional qualifications. The Fast Stream is continuously evolving, with new schemes introduced to keep pace with the changing world.

Additionally, the Fast Stream provides a comprehensive Summer Internship Programme, giving participants a firsthand experience of working in the Civil Service. This internship serves as an excellent introduction to the Fast Stream.

The program’s learning and development component is robust, focusing on foundational skills, leadership, and management training. This training is designed to equip participants with the necessary skills to be effective civil servants and leaders. Participants engage in Action Learning Sets and sessions with Skills and Capability Managers, ensuring a well-rounded development experience.

4. Civil Service Summer Internship Programme (SIP)

The Civil Service Summer Internship Programme (SIP) is a transformative 6 to 8-week opportunity, offering a weekly salary of £391, available UK-wide. This program is designed for talented undergraduates in their final two years of university, particularly those studying STEM subjects, though all degree disciplines are welcome. Participants gain firsthand experience in various government departments, engaging in activities like research, policy development, and shadowing senior officials.

A unique feature of the SIP is the ‘Fast Pass’ system, which accelerates the selection process for the Fast Stream graduate scheme if participants receive positive appraisals. This option can be deferred to the following year, providing flexibility and an enhanced chance of success in the Fast Stream.

Eligibility for the SIP requires a minimum 2:2 degree (expected or awarded), the right to work in the UK, and meeting Civil Service Nationality Rules. The program is open to UK nationals, Commonwealth, and EEA citizens. Successful applicants must pass security checks.

The SIP experience includes support from a Fast Stream buddy and scheme manager, attendance at central events, and a welcome reception with inspirational speakers. It’s an opportunity to immerse in departmental work, develop teamwork, creativity, and leadership skills, and contribute to significant policy issues and public service improvements.

The Civil Service Summer Internship Programme is one of many summer internships for 2024 to choose from.

5. Ministry of Justice Unlocked Graduates

Ministry of Justice Unlocked Graduates Civil Service internships
Ministry of Justice

Unlocked Graduates is a pioneering program aimed at transforming the prison system by recruiting and training exceptional individuals to serve as frontline leaders for two years. This program stands out for its focus on breaking the cycle of reoffending and fostering social change. Participants gain valuable skills and experiences that set them apart in various fields.

The program is not just a job; it’s a challenge for those ready to step away from conventional roles and make a tangible impact. It offers a unique blend of a fully-funded master’s degree in leadership and rehabilitation, along with hands-on experience in the prison system. Recognized by the Civil Service Fast Stream, Unlocked Graduates provides a pathway to influential roles in various government departments, including the Ministry of Justice and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Participants receive a starting salary between £30,000 and £38,000, depending on location, and benefit from ongoing mentoring, professional development, and work placements both within and outside the prison sector. The program also offers the opportunity to influence government policy and a wide range of career opportunities post-completion.

The application process involves an initial registration, followed by a written application and a virtual assessment centre. The selection process is designed to evaluate candidates’ potential for leadership and their ability to drive social change.

Upon completing the program, participants become Unlocked Ambassadors, continuing to contribute to the mission of reducing reoffending and effecting systemic change in the criminal justice system.

The Civil Service have lots of internships to choose from. Here are more ideas on where to find graduate internships in the UK.