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‘The best two weeks of my life’

This summer saw the largest number of students ever participating in our residential programmes. Five organisations running six residential programmes helped almost 200 students gain invaluable work experience in their respective future careers. The Civil Service, J.P. Morgan and Linklaters LLP built on support provided in previous years, along with two new firms offering 25 places each to students: KPMG for aspiring accountants and CH2M Hill for those interested in pursuing a career in engineering. Here are a few highlights from three of the residential programmes.

Whitehall Scotland Residential Programme

After a successful first year in 2013, we were delighted to offer another 15 students from Glasgow placements with the Scottish Civil Service. A wide range of placements were on offer – from working in the anti-corruption/finance team of the Department for International Development to the Scottish Government’s Private Housing Tribunal Service. These placements allowed students to gain an insightful and deeper understanding of the vast array of careers available in the Scottish Civil Service.

Whitehall London Residential Programme

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A successful two weeks in Whitehall

In London, our Whitehall programme ran for its fourth year in a row. Students came from across the UK including Plymouth, Edinburgh, County Down in Northern Ireland and Holywell in North Wales. Placements on offer were equally diverse. They ranged from two weeks in the Immigration Enforcement team of the Home Office, which included a visit to the training centre for conducting house raids, to the Constitutional Policy team in the Scotland Office, just before this month’s referendum!

Linklaters Residential Programme

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In deep discussion at Linklaters

Since being established, the SMF has enjoyed strong relationships with leading law firms. It was a great pleasure to put forward 12 of our brightest law students for a one week residential at global firm, Linklaters, again this year. These students received an exceptional insight into the life and workings of one of the world’s leading law firms, helping them to develop the key skills needed to be world-class solicitors in the future. During the placement, they met their mentors, visited some of Linklaters’ biggest clients and witnessed a murder trial at the Old Bailey.

The following testimony from a Whitehall student sums up why these residentials are so  important:

“Before I came on the programme, I was an individual who lacked confidence at times, but these past few weeks have been the best two weeks of my life. I will never forget being a part of something so incredible. The SMF has changed my life and if I had the opportunity to do it all over again, I would not hesitate. Thank you so much for making me feel like I belong.”

Natassia, Whitehall London Residential Programme, 2014.

Applications for next year’s Aspiring Professionals Programme (APP) and Residential Internship Programmes will be opening next week. Please share the good work of the SMF through your networks to ensure we reach a record number of students again in 2015.

Paul McDonald is one of our Aspiring Professionals Programme Coordinators and oversaw the Whitehall and Linklaters residential programmes this year. We will be bringing you highlights from the other residential programmes throughout the next couple of months.

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