'A Day in the Life' work shadow scheme 2018/19

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

As well as improving cross-sector understanding, the programme helps participants find out about the roles and responsibilities of staff within another organisation, and the operational environments and wider contexts in which they work.

Voluntary sector applicants

We welcome applications from across the voluntary sector; anyone with permission from their employer can participate. Remember to also check your organisation's visitor policy. These vary between organisations but could cover things like security, data protection and confidentiality.

Apply now as a voluntary sector employee

Government applicants

Employees of participating government departments can apply; staff from all levels of seniority and all types of role are invited. The departments taking part for the 2018/19 programme are:

  • Cabinet Office
  • Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
  • Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport
  • Department for Education
  • Department of Health
  • Home Office

Apply now as a government employee

How the scheme works

Applicants are paired with a suitable person from the opposite sector

At a convenient time between January and April 2019, they can spend up to a day shadowing each other in their organisations. Please note NCVO is unable to vet applicants.

Participants get their partner's contact details

This happens in mid January.

You should contact your partner to arrange the date and details of your shadowing day. Initial contact should ideally be made by 31 January so that there is plenty of time to organise the day.

The scheme is very flexible – you can work with your partner before your shadowing day to decide what you both want to do. Further guidance for planning your day is available below.

The scheme is flexible

Sometimes matches do not work out. For example, occasionally a participant leaves their current role. For this reason, NCVO offers a re-match service after the first month of the programme.

To be eligible for re-matching, applicants must notify NCVO at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if their partner can no longer participate by 15 February. While NCVO cannot guarantee that it will be able to find a new partner for all applicants, all efforts will be made to do so.

We can't always find suitable matches for people who apply to A Day In The Life programme. If we can't match an applicant during the first round of matches, applicants will be automatically included in the December re-match stage. However, NCVO cannot guarantee that a match will be found.

26 November 2018 Applications open
21 December 2018 Applications close
Mid-January 2019 Matches announced
Participants begin to contact each other
Shadowing days begin

15 February 2019

Deadline for re-matching applications
Late February 2019 Re-matches announced
May 2019 Participants invited to evaluate the scheme

Preparing for your A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life is flexible – together, participants decide:

  • when to meet
  • what their objectives are
  • what activities they will organise for each other.

To get the most out of their days, participants can contact their partner prior to their swap to discuss their aims and suitable activities. Some participants find it useful to use a template to plan their partner's day.

Read our guidance on guidance on planning your Day In The Life to find out more.

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