My placement within Cat Smith MP’s constituency office has been an experience unlike anything I have had up until this point. Seeing government at such a real, personal, and local level was eye opening. I got to experience the work that a Shadow Minister does within their home constituency and within Parliament. This was very insightful and opened my eyes up to just how much work a Member of Parliament and their teams really undertake and how many people they help.
My first day was like any first day in a new role, quite nerve-racking and uncertain, however, Cat’s team were so helpful and accommodating and explained everything simply and clearly. As the week progressed, I began to feel comfortable turning up each morning and just getting on with my tasks each day.
I was given a range of responsibilities, including compiling a media roundup of breaking and recent news stories relevant to Cat’s ministerial brief in order to send to her policy advisor in Westminster. As Cat is the Shadow Minister for Youth Affairs and Voter Engagement, this could be news regarding youth climate strikes, voter ID trials, political advertising and so much more. I also engaged with those who came into the office throughout the day. The work which I was assigned was varied and always interesting. One day it was drafting letters to the Home Office and the next it was attempting to research the owner of a photograph of Fleetwood. One thing that was always present was the feeling that the tasks I was being given were actually relevant and important.
Outside of the work which I was personally assigned, speaking to and engaging with the members of Cat’s team was just as valuable. Learning their backgrounds, their aspirations, why they decided to do what they do, the amount of work they undertake to help the local community and the role they play in the larger picture was an experience which I believe will help me in my later life. I believe this work experience will one day help me stand out from the sea of graduates attempting to go on to further study, gain work, or hope to be offered pupillages and training contracts.
The only reason that I was able to undertake this placement was due to the Access to the Professions Scheme offered by the Law School, a scheme which is there to help those students to gain valuable experience to help them to achieve their dream jobs within the law. Without this scheme and the support that was offered I would have been unable to travel to Fleetwood for the week and would have missed out on such a great placement. The scheme not only provided the placement but also offered funding to support attendance.
I would encourage any student to take such opportunities and would like to thank Cat Smith, her team, and the Law School for their support over my week in Fleetwood, all the help offered prior to this placement and the continued support afterwards.