Matthew Ryder with Headstart Interns
The five HeadStart Interns with Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, Matthew Ryder

My experience as a HeadStart intern at City Hall

31 August 2017

My name is Georgina, I’m an A-level student from Bermondsey. I applied for an internship here at City Hall through the HeadStart programme. There were 70 applicants and five interviewees made it through for each department. With the help from Headstart, I successfully got the job in the Digital team – and here’s how I got there.

What is Headstart?

HeadStart is a programme run by The Challenge which encourages equal opportunities for young people. To complete HeadStart you must volunteer for 16 hours or more, this guarantees you a job interview with your chosen business.

How did Headstart help me?

  • The programme developed my confidence for working life
  • I learned interview skills and techniques
  • Improved my CV with advice from Goldman Sachs
  • Learned how to apply for this role with an employability workshop

What have I done here at City Hall?

Shadowed on a professional photo shoot

Doing this helped me understand lighting further, particularly flash lighting, it also gave me the experience of setting up a photo shoot in a professional environment.

Georgina looking over notes
Redesigned parts of the website

Since I enjoy computer science and art this was an interesting way to combine them both. For example, I've used Photoshop to recreate how the headers could look as well as alternative colours for the home page. 

Attended a Mayors Question Time (MQT)

This MQT had questions about housing in London which have been useful in my photography project which focuses on areas of housing.

View of the Shard from City Hall floor 9
What have I learned?

  • How the Mayor’s message and policies are communicated on digital channels
  • The importance making the website easily accessible for everyone
  • That there are alternative career paths, such as in digital, where I can apply my creativity

My advice to anyone thinking about applying:

  • Attend the employability workshop, they'll tell you more about your employer
  • Use the STAR technique when answering interview and application questions, through using this I have been able to summarise a situation and what I learnt from it in a concise way
  • Research interview questions before hand and practise how you answer them
  • Make sure you understand what the team does! 
  • In the interview make sure you're talking about your genuine passions
  • Link your experiences with the questions
  • Take the opportunities you're offered


Still curious? Check out Maxwell's HeadStart experience