Back to main menu
Back to main menu
Life in the Civil Service
Back to main menu

Find opportunities that work for you...

Share your feedback, help us improve this site

Illustration of a man and woman shaking hands

Civil Service
Care Leaver Internship

The Scheme

The Civil Service Care Leaver Internship Scheme is an award-winning scheme run by the Department for Education. It offers care leavers an 18-month paid internship in a central government department or agency. There is a possibility that the post can be made permanent after 12 months depending on the following factors:

  • Performance over the 12 months.
  • Headcount within the department.
  • Funding.

The latest data shows 38% of care leavers aged 19-21 are NEET compared to 13% of young people in the general population; only 6% are in higher education and only 2% are on apprenticeships. To help to address this, the internship scheme provides participants with the opportunity to develop and enhance their skills. It has been the launch pad for a successful career in the Civil Service for many care leavers.

Image of a care leaver intern speaking at an event at No 10 Downing Street to celebrate national care leavers week

“3,500 jobs each year for care leavers”

In the recently published independent review of the children’s social care system, Josh McAlister set a ‘Mission’ to create 3,500 jobs each year for care leavers, by 2026. The Civil Service internship scheme – which Josh references in his report as an example of good practice –will play an important role in helping government to achieve this Mission and will continue to support the government’s commitment to social mobility. To date, over 880 care leavers have been offered roles in over 26 government departments with around 80% being converted to permanency.

Show more

Benefits for the young person on the scheme:

  • An opportunity to develop work-based skills, increase professional confidence and test abilities.
  • A launch-pad for a successful working life and career going forwards.
  • Opportunity for young people to gain independence.
  • Offers financial stability.
  • Develop new friendships.
  • Improve self-worth and confidence in general.
  • Help to reach potential.

The scheme is open to young people who are:

• Entitled to a leaving care package.
• Aged 18-30 as of 08/07/2024.
• Satisfy the Civil Service nationality requirements.

There is no requirement for qualifications, but applications are assessed on the criteria set out in the advert.

The next application window for the scheme opens in June 2024, and will follow the below timetable:

10th June 2024 – 8th July 2024 – job advert is live on Civil Service Jobs

24th July 2024 – successful candidates invited to book interview

5th – 9th August 2024 – interviews take place

23rd August 2024 onwards – candidates notified of interview outcome

Information sessions will be available during the application window to support applicants. Please see the job advert for a link to register onto the sessions.

Check for updates on GOV.UK

“What I enjoy most about my role is how every day brings a new challenge. It is helping me to build my confidence and social skills, and although this is an ongoing battle, I have seen such a change in myself and in what I am able to achieve because of the supportive nature of my working environment. I would absolutely recommend the internship to other care leavers. My advice would be to just take a chance and go for it, it may just be the fresh start that you need.”

“Only 7 months into my internship I was given the role of coaching and mentoring new starters from the private sector. I also was nominated to meet with Minister for Children and Families, Will Quince. This is a great opportunity for care leavers to start work and leads to many open doors.”

For more information on this amazing opportunity for care leavers please contact or follow us on Twitter @dfecareers


The Civil Service provides many benefits for you and your family.

Things like health, well-being and discount schemes, the Civil Service Pension Scheme and reward and recognition schemes.


To help you during the recruitment process, we will take into account any adjustments that could help you.

Things like changing the time, location or format of interviews or providing interview questions in advance.

Children’s social care blog

To hear more from our interns and care leavers across government, please follow the below link to the children’s social care blog.