The Hungarian Public Administration Internship Program is the Government’s program for young professionals to introduce them into the system of public administration. The program started in 2011.

1. Beginning of the Program

The Hungarian Public Administration Internship Program is the Government’s program for young professionals to introduce them into the system of public administration. The program started in 2011. 

The first year of the Program generated great interest, almost 1400 applications were submitted and 250 were selected for the Program. (More than 600 applications were submitted each year after the first year.)

The aim of the program is to address well-educated graduate young professionals and make public administration an attractive career opportunity. It is also very important to attract well educated young people into the public administration system, who speak foreign languages and are dedicated to public service.

2. Funding

The first year in 2011 was financed entirely by the European Union (approx. EUR 2.2 million). Since 2012 the program has been financed by the central government budget which also shows the dedicated support of the Government. After the call for application in November, the ministries send their HR needs to our Department to help us find the ideal applicants with regard to the field of interest and professional knowledge so that we can send the best applicants to the Ministries.

3. Employment

A great number of the interns have continued their career in public administration. 209 interns out of 226 received a job offer in 2011, 118 out of 148 in 2012, and 94 out of 112 in 2013.

According to the survey conducted by the organizers, very few interns leave the field of public administration after getting into the system and the participants successfully respond to the challenges they meet in their work, and the job done by them meets their personal expectations as well.

Based on the previous facts, we can say that the program is really successful, so the great interest in the program makes it clear that the Government can attract well qualified young professionals who speak foreign languages.

By employing over 80% of the interns fulfil the needs of the Hungarian public administration replenishment. Year by year the ministries and their background institutions show greater and greater interest in the program and welcome the interns and highlight what a good opportunity it is for them to discover the talents of the interns for 10 months, and after that they can decide whether they want to offer themfurther employment.

4. Phase abroad

The interns work 2 or 3 months in a ministry or a similar institution of an EU country. The partners abroad are waiting for the interns with carefully prepared program plans and monitor their activity. The interns have the opportunity to choose from 24 countries and can spend their phase abroad at the countries’ most prestigious institutions. The main host countries are Germany, the United Kingdom and Austria each of which had 14 interns (e.g. the British Department of Business Innovation and Skills). We had interns at the Office of the Prime Minister in Ireland, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin has been a host institution since the beginning of the program. Brussels is also a popular destination but France, Italy and Spain are also happy to work with our interns. There are always one or two interns who go to Brazil, Russia, India, China or South Africa. Almost all interns said that they had profited in many ways during their phase abroad. They could observe good practices and it was a fruitful experience to meet a different working culture.

The international network system of Hungarian public administration has also strengthened through the Program. The coordination office has more than 200 partners abroad.

The Programme has won recognition among the partners abroad, they regard it as an excellent initiative, and consider introducing it into their own system.

5. Training

The training program prepared for the third and fourth year – based on the experience during the previous years – has become more specific, which helps start a career in public administration and gives an opportunity for further advancement. 

6. Summary

Setting the number of interns this year and the conditions for getting into the program seems to be right, which is confirmed by the fact that more and more institutions employ their interns before they finish the program. The organisers of the program declared that further employment of the interns is not an insurmountable task and the natural fluctuation of the system soaks up our trained and experienced young professionals.

Due to enquiries, there is considerable interest also among administrative institutions in offering internship places to students.  Students highly appreciate the initiative as such an internship not only raises the value of their diploma, but offers an excellent opportunity to build personal connections (networking), and increases the chances to find a job after graduation.