'A Day in the Life' work shadow scheme 2014

'A Day in the Life' is a free work shadowing initiative that provides a unique opportunity for staff in government and voluntary organisations to step into each other's shoes for a day and learn about how the other sector operates.

Applications are now open for 2014 and close on 1 August:


The aim of 'A Day in the Life' is to improve cross-sector understanding of the roles and responsibilities of staff within the public and voluntary sectors, as well as the operational environments and wider contexts in which they work. By opening up dialogue between staff, this in turn will encourage improved relationships and policy-making.

How does it work?

Applicants are paired up with a suitable person from the opposite sector. At a convenient time between September 2014 and January 2015, both spend up to a day in each other’s organisations. There they have the opportunity to find out more about each other’s work ranging from the day to day responsibilities through to the wider contexts in which they operate and the challenges they face. They also have the opportunity to ask questions, offer and take advice, and share ideas on how civil society and government can work more effectively together.

Government departments which have already signed up include the:

  • Cabinet Office
  • Department for Business and Innovation (BIS)
  • Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
  • Department for Education (DfE)
  • Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC)
  • Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
  • Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)
  • Home Office
  • Ministry of Justice


To apply, fill in the relevant application form:

Feedback from 2013

In 2013 ten government departments took part: Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Ministry of Justice (MoJ), Cabinet Office, Home Office, Department for Education, Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Department for Transport. There were 1,292 participants from across the two sectors. Feedback was positive.

Government employees found the scheme very valuable

  • 85% of respondents from public sector participants found the experience ‘worthwhile’
  • 80% of respondents said they would recommend the scheme to colleagues
  • 79% of respondents said it increased their knowledge of the voluntary sector
  • 95% of respondents said they wanted their department to take part again

Feedback from VCS participants was also positive

  • 80 % of VCS respondents found the experience ‘worthwhile’ or ‘very worthwhile’
  • 84% of respondents would recommend the scheme to colleagues.
  • 88% of VCS respondents felt the scheme had increased their knowledge of how government works on a day-to-day basis.
  • 81% said they think their organisation should take part in A Day in the Life again

2013 particpants

“I think it is a really good way for civil servants to see first-hand what voluntary organisations do and vice versa”
Government participant

“Very useful - helped me develop a better understanding of how my organisation can work more effectively with government departments.”
Voluntary sector participant

“The scheme is a great opportunity to get out of the office and see some of the Government policies actually being delivered.”
Government participant

“The work shadowing scheme is an enriching experience for both organisations to exchange and learn more about each other’s work.”
Voluntary sector participant

Read more feedback from 'A Day in the Life' 2013

Further questions

If you have any questions about the scheme please have a read of our Frequently Asked Questions or keep an eye on this page for further updates.

Read our guide to planning your shadowing days (PDF, 40KB).

If the FAQs do not cover your query, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Site by Clickingmad