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Department for Transport

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Department for Transport

Department for Transport

The Department for Transport:

The Department for Transport is responsible for delivering some of the largest infrastructure projects in the country and is at the heart of the development of transport policy.

Commercial Development Programme:

Our Commercial Development programme is divided into three one year placements where you will receive first-class training and a real opportunity to put into practice your newly acquired skills by working on major and high profile projects.

What will you gain?

  •  An understanding of how the public sector buys good and services and ensures their effective delivery
  • Exposure to industry experts and first-hand experience of complex negotiations
  • Responsibility and accountability on major infrastructure projects and the way they are designed, financed and managed
  •  Contract management skills and the opportunity to play a part in ensuring key services are delivered to the public
  •  Awareness of the financial market and how it can support or impact on front line delivery
  •  An understanding of how major commercial transactions are treated in accounting terms


We are excited to present to you with this opportunity to start a challenging and rewarding career with us at DfT.


Case Study 1

James MacAulay - Commercial Associate

Prior to joining the Department for Transport (DfT) I worked in political risk analysis, after having studied history at the LSE and modern languages at Durham University. I had however, always wanted to work in the Civil Service – in a job ‘that makes a difference’ - and so I was delighted to be offered a place on the programme.
Why did you decide to apply to the DfT Commercial Development Programme?
An immediate draw for me was the opportunity to see tangible results from my work in a department that has such a direct impact on public life. But so too were the possibiliti
es for professional development during the three-year programme.
During my first day at the DfT, the other members of the programme’s first cohort and I were blitzed with a whistle-stop induction to the department’s varied works. But what sticks with me most is the enthusiasm with which we were greeted, and the evidence of the depth of support for the programme across the department.
How have you found your DfT work placement?
During my first placement I have been thrust into the rail industry, and with an ever-increasing portfolio of responsibilities. My duties have included regular meetings with industry stakeholders; preparing ministerial briefings (which resulted in a trip to the House of Commons); and project managing the department’s oversight of the transfer of stations from one train operator to another. The work has already proved varied and stretching, but the key aspect for me is working with enthusiastic and talented people.

Case Study 2

Nishani Balendra - Commercial Associate

Before joining the Commercial Development programme, I had just qualified as a solicitor after graduating from Oxford University in Law. The attraction of the Commercial Development programme was not only that I would be developing key, in demand commercial skills, but also the variety of work that would be open to me through the three one year placements. I also looked forward to the prospect of working on large projects and grappling with some of the key challenges in infrastructure.

Why did you decide to apply to the DfT Commecial Development Programme?

The Commercial Development programme provides you with the opportunity to undertake a professional qualification, which will add to and enhance the commercial work experience you gain on the programme. In addition there is a comprehensive support network through mentors (including senior civil service mentor and mentor to assist with professional qualifications) and a buddy, which helped me to fit into the culture and work practices of the DfT relatively quickly, whilst at the same time providing me with invaluable guidance on work and career development.

How have you found your DfT work placement?

My first role was as an assistant commercial adviser on the HS2 project. I helped to develop, track and implement contract management and change processes arising from DfT’s contract with HS2 Ltd, which involved me working closely with commercial consultants and regularly attending and contributing to meetings with senior managers at both HS2 Ltd and the DfT. My first role exposed me to the sheer breadth and complexity of a project worth over £50 billion, and proved to be a fast-paced, challenging but ultimately rewarding environment to work in.



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