In early April, Shelina Hargrove had the pleasure of speaking at the opening ceremony of the Early Diversity Internship Programme (EDIP). Here are some of her reflections.
If you’d told me a year or two ago that I would be standing in front of over 100 people at this event, talking about being from a lower socio-economic background, I might not have believed you. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved, but my early life and schooling have never really been things that I’ve tended to talk about much at work. Since co-founding the Fast Stream Opportunity Network with my fellow committee members, though, I’ve found myself feeling liberated and more comfortable talking about my journey to where I am now.
Speaking at the EDIP event was an opportunity to address some of the bright minds who will hopefully later apply for the Fast Stream. I explained how the Opportunity Network came into being, what our aims are and our planned activities for the future. To put all this into context, I spoke at the beginning about my story and the experiences I’d had before joining. Some of the interns approached me afterwards, sharing that they found it inspiring to hear from someone from a similar background who was on the Fast Stream. It was great to be able to talk with them about their career plans and aspirations, as well as encouraging them to consider the Fast Stream as an option.
We would love to see the Opportunity Network model expand further, with other organisations having their own dedicated networks focused on championing social mobility. Because of this, my favourite piece of event feedback was from an intern who told me they were now thinking about starting an Opportunity Network at their university – what a great result that would be!
The Early Diversity Internship Programme (EDIP) gives first-year undergraduates from diverse backgrounds a sense of what being a Civil Service fast streamer is like. You can find out more about the EDIP here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/civil-service-fast-stream-early-diversity-internship-programme