Jennifer Hampton’s Welsh Government Internship

DTC student Jennifer Hampton (Cardiff School of Social Sciences) recently completed an internship with the Welsh Government. The project was titled ‘An analysis of material deprivation in Wales’. An internship “is an excellent opportunity to experience the role research plays in organisations outside of academia” Jennifer said. “It renewed my enthusiasm in my studies”.  Here are some of her reflections on the experience.

Jennifer Hampton

Jennifer Hampton

“This project entailed investigation and analysis of material deprivation in Wales.  Using data from the National Survey for Wales 2014-15, I conducted a detailed advanced statistical analysis of the the nature of material deprivation in Wales.  This involved examination of the characteristics of those suffering both household and child material deprivation.

“My main goal was to experience what it is really like to work in a governmental organisation; to get a taste for how research and analysis is actually used by policy makers; to better understand the relationship between civil servants and ministers; and to better understand the the role Welsh Government plays in its relationship with Westminster. I also wanted to publish a report for a governmental (rather than academic) audience; and to have the opportunity to conduct a fairly complex analysis on a large data set.

“The majority of my original aims and expectations were met.  My host team was very good at integrating me as part the team quite quickly and so I felt like I was getting a ‘true’ experience of the culture and workings of the organisation. In terms of the project, my aims and expectations changed over time: the advertised aims were ambitious, but I did produce a detailed report and the host organisation were happy to give an extension for it to be completed. This report will be published internally and externally through Welsh Government, sometime around June, along with a detailed executive summary.  It is envisaged that the findings of the report will help inform policy teams, particularly the Tackling Poverty Action Plan Team, as well as analysis of material deprivation measures in future waves of the survey.

“Although the topic of my research on the internship is not directly related to my PhD topic, some of the skills I have improved will certainly help me.  These skills involve communicating research findings to a non-academic, non-specialist audience. My experiences on the internship allowed me to explore and practice different ways to accurately convey complicated statistical findings to those who do not come from a quantitative background.

“The internship helped me to improve my time management and organisational skills. Working with a large data set also allowed me to practice my data management and analytic skills. I was given the opportunity to attend training courses whilst on my internship, learning about the Welsh Government structure and role, equality and diversity, and data security, amongst other things.

“Although the experience has not dissuaded me from pursuing a path in academia, it has certainly made me consider seriously the other options that are out there, such as the civil service fast track scheme. The internship, maybe because it was a break from my PhD, has renewed my enthusiasm in my studies.

“I would advise those considering undertaking an internship to take the opportunity if they can. It is an excellent opportunity to practice communicating your research findings to different kinds of audiences, and to experience the role research plays in organisations outside of academia.”

For details of Wales DTC internships, see our internships page.