My placement year at the Department for Work and Pensions
Why did you want to take a placement year?
I wanted to take a placement year because I wanted to enhance the skills I learned during my degree and to build my confidence in navigating working world by gaining experience in the workplace. Specifically, I wanted gain experience working as an economist in government so that I could work out if it was a career I wanted to pursue. I chose a year-long placement over a summer internship because I wanted the opportunity to take on my own projects and develop relationships with colleagues over a longer period of time.
What was your placement about?
During my placement year, I worked as a Student Economist in the Financial Modelling and Analysis division at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). I worked on a variety of projects which included analysing the regional impacts of DWP’s resource expenditure for the Autumn Budget, improving the usability of spreadsheets used for the Spring Statement and writing a submission to the Secretary of State.
In addition to work projects, placement students could get involved in extra activities that contribute to the department. This included everything from organising team wellbeing meetings to being a part of the Economist Schools Outreach team, where economists from the department organise activities and presentations to encourage secondary school pupils to study economics. Getting involved in projects that improve the wider department was very beneficial to me and I believe I gained just as many skills from these as I did my work tasks.
Having secured a graduate job back at DWP, I look forward to reconnecting with my former colleagues and further developing my skills as an economist in government.
What is your favourite part of your placement?
I don’t think I have a favourite part of my placement since it was all so enjoyable, but some highlights included learning about different parts of government and the variety roles available within the Civil Service, learning more about how economics is applied in government, and attending an economics conference in Bristol!
Any top tips for future students?
A tip for future students would be to apply for roles that you are genuinely interested in and want to know more about. I think it really comes across well in interviews if you are curious or excited to learn more about the company or the role you are applying for. Quality over quantity!
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