Students to gain from hands-on experience

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 January, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 January, 2010, 12:00am

For many university students it may seem too early in the year to be thinking about applying for summer internships. However, for high-flyers, who want to pursue a career in the government, this could be a last-minute call to action.

The Civil Service Bureau is accepting applications for its administrative service summer internship programme which is aimed at giving university students some hands-on experience of working in administrative roles in the government.

'Students participating in the programme will be exposed to duties similar to those of administrative officers in assigned posts in different government bureaus or departments,' says Billy Woo, assistant secretary (administrative service) at the Civil Service Bureau.

Applications for this year's internship programme will end on January 29, and the results will be announced in March.

Employment will be offered for a period of about two months between May and August.

Local university students and Hong Kong students studying at universities abroad are eligible to apply.

This year, the programme will offer 20 to 30 vacancies and, since the launch of the programme in 1995, a total of 225 interns have received training.

'The interns will be involved in public administration and government policy issues such as policy research and formulation, district administration, organisation of international events and conferences, and will have the opportunity to meet important government officials,' Woo says.

The programme is structured in a way that the interns will learn more about the duties and responsibilities of administrative officers which will help them when they plan for their future careers.

For example, Woo says, some interns in last year's programme worked in the Home Affairs Bureau to support the organisation of the 2009 East Asian Games, and some in the Security Bureau to support the consultation exercise on the drug testing scheme for Hong Kong schools.

Applicants need to demonstrate their all-roundedness and particular strengths in order to differentiate themselves from the competition.

'What we look for is whether they are committed to serving the community and have a genuine interest in pursuing a career in the administrative service after graduation,' he says.

'Other than outstanding academic achievements and a good command of Chinese and English, we select the candidates based on their leadership qualities, ability to work in a team and participation in community or school activities,' Woo says.

Students with this kind of internship experience will have an advantage when the government launches a recruitment drive to fill vacancies in the civil service.

'In our recent recruitment exercise, three of our newly recruited administrative officers were past participants in this internship programme,' Woo says.