Guest blog from Nathan Prakash Paterson, who graduated with a BSc Economic History with Economics degree in 2014 from the London School of Economics. During his time at university he completed the Civil Service Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP) before spending time overseas with an NGO in Kenya and the graduate management consulting programme of a multinational firm.

He then joined the Civil Service Fast Stream where he has worked in the Department of Work and Pensions and the Department of International Trade. He is currently on secondment to an NHS foundation trust hospital, and tells us here about his journey from interning to a career in the public sector.

I left LSE in 2014 wanting to use the skills and experience I’d gained to make a difference to people’s lives. I worked with public sector clients while interning after I graduated but had also directly worked in government within the Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP). After ten weeks here I knew longer term that I wanted to direct my career towards working in the Civil Service.

My time on the SDIP was a very realistic experience of delivering a project within a short time-frame, and gave me a good sense of expectations in the working environment of a big organisation – the largest department in the UK’s public sector – with a complex range of stakeholders. Compared to other internships where my work was less involved, I really appreciated the challenge of working with a range of different stakeholders, and found this has served me extremely well ever since. The training and support provided to interns alongside the placement was definitely crucial in helping me to navigate the application process and have the confidence to do well during the assessments.

I found it slightly challenging to juggle the application process for the Fast Stream alongside a full-time job, but with a bit of organisation it can be done. I knew as soon as I’d left the assessment centre that the scenarios we had worked through were exactly the kind of work I wanted to be doing, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I also enjoyed meeting people from a wide range of personal and professional backgrounds, and as soon as I received my offer was very excited to start.

In my second posting on the Fast Stream this summer I had the opportunity to manage an SDIP intern myself. I also supported a number of others to learn more about the opportunities available on the programme, and was pleased to see the widespread enthusiasm over the prospect of a career in the public sector. Now I’m part of the Fast Stream, I’m keen to support the next generation in finding their future in the Civil Service.

Applications to the Civil Service Fast Stream and Summer Diversity Internship Programme (SDIP) close at midday next week on Wednesday 25th of October. The SDIP now also offers the ‘Fast Pass’ initiative where interns can now be fast-tracked through their application to the Fast Stream.