September 28, 2021, by Benedict Watson

My Internship With the Civil Service (Part 2)

By Benedict Watson, student blogger

Part one of this blog detailed the run-up and first two weeks of my summer internship with the Civil Service. Find out how my internship has progressed and what I have learned since…

 What I’ve been doing

Having presented my findings on the sheep meat market to my team, I was then tasked with researching the beef and dairy market. Hopefully, I’ll be creating a presentation to wider teams and possibly external experts! I was also given some learning and development tasks by my manager, such as watching a lecture on the future of agriculture post-Brexit and completing a Civil Service Learning module from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about the agri-food sector. I’ve also made a start on an individual project about African Swine Fever, a disease that is posing a serious threat to UK agriculture.


All interns have been involved in a ‘coffee roulette’ where each week we are randomly matched up to another intern to have a 30-minute video chat together. This has been a nice opportunity to get to know some of the other interns, get an insight into what their role involves, and how they have found their internship so far. My manager has also been keen for me to network and meet colleagues in other teams. This has involved checking their calendar and emailing them with a proposed meeting slot. I found this daunting as I felt like I was being a pain by taking up their time when they had plenty of work to be getting on with, but each colleague I’ve called has been welcoming and helpful, and I’ve learned a lot about the Civil Service and the different teams involved through these calls!


The central internship team put on numerous talks and learning opportunities each week for interns to attend if they have space in their calendars. Recently I’ve attended a talk about the analysis team’s role in the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e. how they produce the graphs shown in the press conferences) and a skills and networking session. There are also ‘Lunch and Learn’ sessions with senior civil servants – the session with DEFRA’s Permanent Secretary was particularly interesting! Question and answer sessions with current Fast Streamers have also been very interesting, and sessions focused on guiding the interns through the assessment centre for the Fast Stream were useful!

What’s Next

I’ve still got a month of my internship to go, and I’m looking forward to seeing what it will entail! My main goals will be to present the beef and dairy workshop successfully, and to learn some ‘R’ code so that I can work more closely with the economic model we use! Next week we are having an overnight team meet-up in London, where we’ll do some work in the London office, have some social time together and have a tour of Parliament, which I’m very excited about!


Graduate internships are a short-term period of work or work experience which usually leads to a permanent position, dependent on performance during this period. Find out more about what’s involved in graduate internships and the type of work that you may be doing.

Posted in Choosing Your CareerInternshipStudent BloggersWork experience