An overview of my Q-Step internship experience

by | Apr 13, 2023 | Alumni/careers, Sociology, Social Anthropology and Social Statistics, Undergraduate | 0 comments

Written by Isobel Crowne, a 3rd year BA Social Sciences (Sociology and Data Analytics) student
I am in my third year at the University of Manchester, on the BASS course studying Sociology and Data Analytics. In the summer of my second year, I had the opportunity to undertake an 8-week Q-Step placement at the Home Office. Q-Step is a programme offered by the university that aims to develop data skills for social scientists during a paid placement. During data fellowship I was part of the Analysis and Insight team working as a social researcher. This team was very supportive and friendly, and I was able to go into the office in London and get real workplace experience.
I conducted two separate but interlinking projects to explore the gender pay gap during my time at the Home Office. One of the projects was a comparison project between the mean hourly and mean bonus pay gap at the Home Office, other government departments and public bodies and FTSE 100 companies. I collected data from the site and from individual published reports and then collated the information in an Excel spreadsheet. I conducted analysis and made visualisations to understand how the Home Office performed compared to the other organisations. All my findings were then put into a slide pack which I presented at the end of my data fellowship.
The second project related to intersectionality and how ethnicity, sexual orientation, caring responsibilities and disability related to the gender pay gap within the Home Office and how they vary by region, grade and business area. I used the internal Home Office gender pay gap data to explore these protected characteristics, conducting data analysis and creating data visualisations to present the data. I then produced a slide pack, desk notes and data tables so others could understand the work that I had done and continue it if desired.
Whilst working at the Home Office I had access to a great network of individuals who, giving me the opportunity to reach out to other people in different roles and areas of interest to me. I had some great discussions which gave me a better understanding of the kind of work I would like to do in the future. This really benefited me and left me feeling inspired for what my future could hold.
As a result of my data fellowship, I now know that I want a career in the Civil Service, and I am currently applying for jobs in this area. This internship gave me the confidence in my data skills as well as building on my professional workplace skills. This experience surpassed my expectations. I did not expect that working at the Home Office would be such a positive and enjoyable experience. I had a perception that working as an ‘intern’ I would not be as respected by others on the team and may not be trusted to complete certain tasks on my own. However, this was not the case and embracing the label data fellow has helped me to understand the skills that I bring to an organisation and how useful I can be when conducting analysis.
The Q-Step internship programme is such a great opportunity and I am so glad that I got to be a part of it!