Dr Phillip Lee: Take part in my voluntary internship in BracknellBy Phillip lee
October 26, 2012
As I am sure you would expect, Members of Parliament in the 21st Century are assisted in their role by a small number of dedicated staff, each bringing their own skills and experiences to the table in order to help the Member best serve their constituents.
I am no different in that respect, and am ably supported by my personal assistant Colette, my parliamentary researcher Eva, my constituency-based caseworker Mark, and my part-time constituency assistant Tony.
I am also one of the many Members of Parliament to offer young people an opportunity to gain experience in the Houses of Parliament as an intern.
Joe has taken a year out to gain an understanding of what a Member of Parliament does before embarking on a politics degree at university in 2013.
Jobs in both Westminster and a constituency office are, as you would expect, extremely competitive.
To give you an example, I recently recruited my caseworker and was not surprised to receive more than 150 applications.
That is why I am so keen to help young people with a desire to enter politics to gain experience in a Member of Parliament’s office.
Having discussed recruitment with many of my colleagues in the House, I know most would agree work experience counts at least as much as education and qualifications.
Joe has committed a year of his time to assisting me in my parliamentary office and in return I have dedicated time to mentor him, take him to meetings, and generally show him what a Member of Parliament does in Westminster.
My staff also take time out of their days to show him what they do.
If Joe does apply for parliamentary jobs after he graduates, I am sure his experience will stand him in good stead during the application process.
Parliamentary internships are constantly evolving and have recently been the subject of much media attention.
They are not, however, new – the London School of Economics has offered a parliamentary internship to postgraduate students since 1998.
That said, my colleague Robert Halfon, the Member of Parliament for Harlow, recently launched the Parliamentary Academy, a formal year-long apprenticeship scheme for young people who have not been to university.
I support any scheme offering young people a chance to gain experience in their chosen field, and particularly those work experience opportunities not specifically targeted at graduates or university students.
That is why I have decided to trial a three-month voluntary internship in my constituency office in Bracknell which, I hope, will give local young people an opportunity to find out what I do in the community.
I am ideally looking for a bright, engaging and politically-aware (albeit regardless of political leanings) young person who thinks that they might want to follow a career path into local or national politics.
The role, reporting to my constituency caseworker, will be carefully managed and follow a training programme to include constituency casework, media monitoring, drafting correspondence, and conducting research into local issues.
This would be ideal for someone studying one or two A-levels, but might also appeal to someone not currently working but interested in exploring new horizons.
If you are interested, or if you know someone who might benefit, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact my constituency office on (01344) 868 894 for more information.