In July, the Commission welcomed three sixth formers from Oaks Park High School in Ilford for work experience. Aarti Soba, Strategy Officer at the Commission arranged a programme of events and meetings to introduce Anjalina Seehra, Gurnek Virk and Zayaan Khan, all aged 17, to the work of the Commission and the other independent offices the team supports. Anjalina Seehra said the work experience helped bust a few myths about the Civil Service for her:
The Commission, (understandably) isn’t just filled with middle aged white men like the stereotypes of the government sector. Instead what I found was a group of diverse, hardworking individuals, who socialise and who I could realistically look up to.Anjalina Seehra, Work Experience Student
The CSC is super important. The recruitment process has to be fair, open and merit based, and the CSC make sure this happens. That means that everyone has the right to apply to become a civil servant no matter the ethnicity, background or sexuality. This, in our very fast developing world, is crucial. Also, by attending Civil Service Live I have been exposed to all of the different sectors that take part in maintaining government policies and that keep the country together. CS Live was an amazing opportunity to get an insight into the trade unions as well as sneaking out loads of freebies.
Gurnek Virk felt he gained some useful career advice from his meetings with the senior team:
Ian Watmore, the First Civil Service Commissioner, taught me a valuable lesson while talking me through his career journey - that evidence is very important and is better than conceptualised ideas and is the basis of everything. I also met with Pete Lawrence, Senior Civil Servant, who helped changed my perspective – that interviews aren’t as daunting as I thought and that the panellists are only trying to get the best out of me. Lastly, I met with Peter Riddell, the Commissioner for Public Appointments, he broadened my knowledge about Ronald Reagan and Gorbachev, and he also gave me a further insight into various leaders he has been acquainted with in his previous career as a journalistGurnek Virk, Work Experience Student
I felt nervous that I would find the environment intimidating, as I had assumed the government sector to be quite a serious and inaccessible field, this was immediately resolved by the office’s warm atmosphere and welcoming staff.”Zayann Khan, Work Experience Student
On Thursday, we went to the Parliament to sit in the House of Lords with Baroness Angela Browning and have a discussion about our future interests and any advice she had for us at this stage of our life. This was a great session as it showed us we should do what we love and pick up different experiences as it can greatly assist us for our future jobs or roles.
Also, I have to mention that meeting with some of the Senior Civil Servants and Commissioners such as Ian Watmore, Rosie Glazebrook, Peter Riddell and having a discussion about their careers was also quite fascinating as it demonstrated how careers can change and fluctuate, which can be a big part of your future.
I recommend this work experience placement to anyone who is considering looking around different places for their future, as it is a great insight into how different departments in the government function and to see whether this sector would be suitable for you, or not. It has been incredibly helpful in showing a genuine experience of working in this field and has reaffirmed my interest in joining a department similar to this after university.
The Commission team thoroughly enjoyed hosting these bright and engaged young people and would like to wish them well for their future careers.