DTC student Gwyther Rees (Cardiff School of Social Sciences) recently completed an internship with the Welsh Government. “I found the experience very helpful in understanding the links between research and other functions within the government” Gwyther said. “I gained some detailed understanding of policy perspectives which I think will help me to refine my arguments for maximum impact.”. Here are his reflections on the experience.
“I was interested to gain some experience of working within a Government department and in particular to understand more about the role of research within that context and some of the organisational factors that researchers contend with. I was hoping to be able to make a useful contribution to the work of the Welsh Government on child well-being.
“I think my aims and expectations were fully met. Being based in the office and talking to staff there helped me to gain a better understanding of the way research fits in to the overall work of the Welsh Government. I feel that the two pieces of work I did were well received and made some practical contribution.
“The findings from the first component have already been communicated because I contributed to a new edition of the Children and Young People’s Monitor for Wales, published in December 2015. The findings from the second component – an analysis of the need for more children’s survey work in Wales – are currently being considered by the Welsh Government.
“I think this will help me in the future in terms of communicating with government stakeholders; and that establishing links at the Welsh Government may be beneficial in terms of exploring potential joint work in the future. I attended a meeting there after the end of the internship and am still in e-mail contact.
“In terms of the direct impact on my PhD research, the experience was very helpful because my thesis is about the potential policy value of measuring children’s subjective well-being. I gained some detailed understanding of policy perspectives within government about this topic which I think will help me to refine my arguments for maximum impact.
“In more general terms, I found the experience very helpful in understanding the links between research and other functions within the government, and some of the constraints under which research staff are working. This will help me in the future in terms of being able to communicate more effectively with this particular group, and I imagine it will also be useful when writing funding proposals for government funding.
“I received good supervision and support and my experience was very positive. Apart from the learning I gained, I found it really helpful to take a break from the thesis work for a few months. By the end of the internship I felt ready to return to this and I think I was able to start again with a fresh perspective.
“I would encourage others to take up these types of opportunities, particularly where the topics to be worked on relate clearly to their thesis topic.”
For details of Wales DTC internships, see our internships page.