Summer Internship at the Government Property Unit

Pearson Business School students

Paloma Shakouri, Third year Pearson Business School student shares her internship experience.

This summer I was incredibly honoured to spend a short internship at the Government Property Unit, in Whitehall, Central London.

During this time, I was introduced to a variety of projects and initiatives taking place within the government property unit; including the One Public Estate, a Lunch & Learn meeting on Asset Efficiency, a meeting with the London and South East ‘team’, a HR workshop and an in depth discussion regarding the Admiralty Arch development.

I was intrigued by the scope of the work taking place within the GPU and how they ultimately link back to the manifesto commitments stated by the Prime Minister.

I learned an incredible amount during the internship, but perhaps my greatest learning experience came from a completely unprecedented situation which transcended at the time.

As I arrived at the government offices one morning in Whitehall, expecting to experience operations running as smoothly as they had been previously, I was informed that the Voting Registration website for the EU referendum has crashed the night before, just prior to the deadline. This caused a huge amount of fury among the general public, voiced on social media. I found the way by which everyone dealt with the issue incredibly interesting.

During this time, I met with the Private Secretary to the Cabinet Office in one of the government coffee shops, and I distinctively remember numerous public servants running in (each time expecting our meeting to be cut short any moment!) to speak to team members in order to resolve the problem; and then just as quickly they would rush back as a group to go an implement the discussed action.

I could clearly sense the overwhelming drive to find a solution. I learned that it was not simply a need for a decision as to whether to extend the deadline and allow all those whom had attempted to register to vote to do so; an in-depth analysis of the policy would have to take place in addition to working to resolve the technical issues - not to mention improving public opinion!

After having followed the progress throughout the day and eagerly anticipating the outcome, I was delighted to learn that the government had been successful in extending the deadline.

Whilst this may appear a very specific example, it crucially highlights that there is a colossal amount of work taking place ‘behind the scenes’ in order to fulfil commitments and expectation; more so than the general public is aware of.

I would like to say a huge thank you to Jamie and Jodie for organising such an in-depth programme in order for me to develop a well-rounded insight into the Government Property Unit, and to all those whom I met for being so accommodating throughout. Thank you also to Pearson College London for the opportunity. I am truly grateful.

To any students who are considering applying for an internship; you absolutely must! It is an excellent way to determine which field of work you would like to pursue post-university, to gain experience and skills, and an opportunity to meet incredibly inspiring individuals who can help you along your career journey.  

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