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 Leavers Internship


The Care Leavers Internship Scheme is currently on hold until the conclusion of the general election. Please check back here for updates on the 2024 timeline.

What is the Care Leavers Internship Scheme?

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

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

Am I eligible to apply?

To apply for the scheme, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

To be eligible for a leaving care package, you must have been in care for a minimum of 13 weeks. Some of this time must have been after your 16th birthday. If you are unsure whether you meet this criteria, please speak to your personal advisor or local authority.

2024 application timeline

Please check back here for updates on the 2024 application process.

Cited as ‘good practice’ in the independent review of the children’s social care system.

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.

Scheme benefits

  • An opportunity to develop work-based skills, increase professional confidence and test abilities.
  • Learning and development opportunities will be provided alongside the role.
  • An opportunity for young people to gain independence.
  • Interns will be paid the same amount as colleagues who are their grade in the department.
  • The chance to develop new friendships.
  • Help to reach potential.

Hear from our interns

“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.”

Gabrielle, HMRC

“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.”

Candice, HMRC

“I started my journey as a care leaver intern just two weeks before the global pandemic hit. I was unsure of what to expect and didn’t realise how much support was available. While I struggled with speaking at first, my colleagues helped me gain confidence and were always there to guide and encourage me. To any care leavers considering a career in the Civil Service, I would urge you not to let feelings of self-doubt or a lack of experience hold you back. The Civil Service is a highly inclusive and supportive environment that will help you grow and develop.”

Charlie, DfE

Frequently asked questions

Can I choose which department I am allocated to?

No, candidates will be appointed to roles based on the grade they were successful at at interview and the roles available in their chosen location.

What happens at the end of the 18-months?

Interns can either be made permanent, have their contract extended for a further 6-months, or their line manager should help them to apply for external roles on Civil Service Jobs.

I live in a town/city that wasn't advertised on the job advert. Can I still apply?

Yes, you can still apply. However, we will only be able to offer you a role in a location that was advertised, so if the locations are not within daily travelling distance, then we would advise you not to apply.

I have not passed maths or English, can I apply?

Yes. No qualifications are required for the Care Leavers Internship Scheme, but you must be able to demonstrate that you satisfy the criteria specified in the advert. 

I'm currently studying at university, can I apply?

We cannot offer roles to those who will be in full-time education alongside the internship. For those studying at university part-time, we will try to find suitable part-time roles however this cannot be guaranteed and will depend on business needs.

Please email for any further queries.


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.