Frequently Asked Questions

Questions asked in the induction sessions are answered at the bottom of this page.

Time commitment

Over the course of the boot camp, we’re providing 50+ hours of content. You don’t have to come to every session, or complete every module, but we’d like you to participate in as much as you can. We’ll release more details about the schedule once you sign up.

In order to qualify for an internship, you need to have: completed The Introduction to Policy modules, and participated in at least one Methodology session and one Policy Challenge Sandpit.

  • Introduction to Policy

    These are six (there were seven) self-guided modules and accompanying exercises and seminars. You can complete the modules at any time. They won’t take more than 20 minutes each. Then there’ll be a short exercise to complete and an optional 50 minute seminar for each topic where we’ll bring the topic alive by discussing present-day policy examples in the wake of COVID-19.

  • Pathways into Public Policy

    These are a series of optional talks and panel discussions in which policy practitioners talk about their work and their careers. These are optional. Each session will last about an hour.

  • Methodology Sessions

    These sessions, devised by outside policy actors, will introduce a methodological approach and discuss how it is used in the policy making process. Each session will take between one and three hours. We’d like you to participate in at least one of these sessions.

  • Policy Challenge Sandpits

    In these sessions a policy organisation will set a challenge, and you’ll work in teams to come up with responses. You’ll hear from different organisations and specialists, and come up with a policy product to be presented to a Dragon’s Den-style panel of experts. These challenges will take place over 5-7 days, and it shouldn’t be more than a few hours of work a day. You can work flexibly, and you won’t need to be available all day during the sandpits. You’ll need to coordinate with your team to balance the work between you depending on availability. We’d like you to participate in at least one of these sessions.

How do I sign up?

The registration period has now ended. The course has now started – log into slack via the joining instructions email.

Who can sign up?

You have to be a student or recent graduate at UCL or the University of Manchester to sign up. Recent graduate means you graduated in the last three months. We accept undergraduates, masters and PHD students, and those beginning their course in the autumn.

What is the sign up process like?

We’ll ask you for some personal details and some academic information. So we know how well we’re doing at being inclusive, we’ll ask you about your background. We’ll also ask you about any accessibility requirements you might have. Finally, we’ll ask you if you have any previous experience with policy, to consider why you think policy is important, and to consider what you want to get out of the Boot Camp.

How do we decide who to accept?

We want to accept everyone who applies. There’s no test or process to reject applications. If we receive too many applications, we’ll accept them on a first-come-first-serve basis and in line with our widening participation policy.

Update: the course is oversubscribed. However, we want to give everyone the opportunity to participate so we are adjusting some of our delivery methods. We ask that you be patient with us if things go wrong, and if we ask, that you let us know if you will be participating in a certain session.

Do I need any prior experience?

You don’t need any experience of policy or politics to participate in the boot camp. In fact, we encourage people who have never studied politics or policy to apply.

Do I need any equipment?

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boot Camp is being run online. In order to participate you’ll need access to a computer, an internet connection, a webcam, and a microphone. Ideally, you’ll also need some quiet space of your own to work in. If you don’t have access to all of these, let us know in the application form and we can discuss how we can help you participate.

How will the course run online?

The course will be delivered through team-working software Slack and video-conferencing service Zoom. After you sign up, we’ll get in touch with more information on creating accounts for these online systems.

Update: please set up a Zoom account with the same email address you use to register with. If you have registered after the 6pm on Thursday 13 August, you will be sent a link to sign into Slack on Monday morning.

What’s in it for me?

As well as being great fun, the boot camp will give you useful experience for the future, whether you want to work in policy or not. You’ll make connections with people from across the policy-world and have something to put on your CV. Plus, it could result in a paid internship at a policy organisation and set you up for more work in the sector.

Will there be internships?

Following the Boot camp, there will be an opportunity to apply for internships at a range of policy organisations. These internships will be paid at the living wage and are likely to last around two months. The course is also designed to give participants the experience to secure their own internships in policy organisations.

We’ll shortly be putting out a notice about how to express interest in the programme’s internship application process.

How do I qualify for an internship?

To qualify for an internship, you need to have completed all Introduction to Policy Making modules, and have participated in at least one Methodologies session and at least one Policy Challenge.

Update: the application process will be released to participants in early September.

How much does it cost?

The Boot Camp is completely free. Slack, which will be the central hub for the boot camp, is also free, so ignore any notifications about paying for subscriptions.

How can I contact you?

If you have any questions or queries, send us an email.

Our GDPR policy

Throughout the boot camp, we will record and store personal information that you give us. Your information will be stored securely, and it will only be used for the purposes of running the boot camp and the related internship program. Your data will be shared with the University of Manchester and UCL. You can read our complete data policy here.

FAQs From Induction Sessions

How long are the seminars?

The seminars will be 50 minutes, whilst other sessions such as methodologies maybe 1 hour and 30 minutes.

What is the average age of participants? Is this for undergrads or postgrads?

This is for undergrads and postgrads! Current participants are about 30% postgrad and 70% undergrad, and we attempt to field a diverse mix of students in different groups and activities.

Will there be a certificate?

This course will not be officially certified in an accredited manner. This course is all about providing you with experience and skills. The more you get involved, the more experiences and skills can mention in interviews, CVs etc!

Are seminars recorded?

Seminars will be recorded!

When are the sandpits?

Sandpits will take place from the 7th of September, and they will run concurrently. You might have to decide which you most want to attend, so prioritisation is important.

Will there be exams at the end of the course?

No, the sandpits and the products which you produce in them will be the final test of the boot camp, but these are optional and hopefully one of the main reasons why you signed up!

Will seminars be capped for participants?

Some sessions will be capped, but seminars will have no caps on numbers.

How does this boot camp support those working a 9-6 job alongside?

With the large amount of recorded content, affinity groups and large spread of times, hopefully the course is a flexible online experience. But let us know if we are doing well, we’d love to hear ideas to improve!

Can I use this experience for my CV and interviews?

Yes, whilst there will be no certificates for completing the boot camp, the things you learn and the work you do will be excellent for CVs and interviews. 2019 participants used their experiences to obtain internships with external groups beyond the boot camp!

I really want to attend a methodologies session but can’t, can I engage with it?
The sessions will consist of two parts: a presentation from the policy actor, and a group exercise applying what you have learned. We will record the presentation for those who cannot attend but would like to learn in their own time, but the exercises can only be completed at the session.

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