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Olivia tells us what its like to be a graduate at UK Parliament

Book open Reading time: 3 mins

What’s your story?

I graduated from Cambridge in 2018 with a degree in Politics and International relations and I joined the House of Lords through the Graduate Development programme straight after graduating.

I was also offered a job in the Civil Service so it was quite a tough decision. The reason I chose UK Parliament was because I liked that you get a first-hand look into how policy is made and I liked the fact that you have close proximity to the Lords in a really varied role. In my current role, I’m clerking on a select committee on 'Democracy and Digital Technologies'.

What would you say a ‘normal day’ looks like in your role?

My typical day is from 9-5.30 and what I get up to is really varied. For example, I write briefing notes for the Chairman on what we have coming up, I check and research policy documents, I often have meetings and work to coordinate outreach events and organise press opportunities/interviews for the committee. I also perform procedural duties at least once a week in the House, which involves staying late to count the votes in the chamber or preparing the Houses business for the next day.

Describe the most exciting thing you’ve been involved in since you started working in Parliament.

On a weekly basis, when I count the votes, the atmosphere of the division lobbies is really exciting, it feels very important; for example I recently counted the votes on an amendment that was being put through to the Northern Ireland executive Bill and you could tell from the atmosphere that it was really important and to actually be there as history was being made was amazing. I also organised an event at the British Academy to launch the inter-generational fairness report. It was really exciting to be in such a beautiful location surrounded by distinguished people all discussing work that I’d been doing.

Has anything surprised you since you started?

I've been really surprised at the dedication and attitude of the people that I work with and that there are quite a lot of young people here. I don't think you think of the House of Lords as having particularly young staff but, a lot of the people I work with are younger and I think there is a real sense of working towards a common goal. I think everyone is very supportive and a lot of the people who work in my office have also been through the GDP scheme, so they understand what you're going through.

Finally, how did you find the application process, and have you got any tips for someone applying to the programme?

I actually really enjoyed the application process and the experience of the process was what motivated me to take the job. It's much less intimidating than it appears. People want you to succeed here. If you don't feel like there are people like you in Parliament then that's all the more reason for you to come and work here.

Try and enjoy the application process because if you do it's a pretty good sign that you'll enjoy the work you'll be doing. Do your research into Parliament, it's role and what its functions are. Don't get Parliament and Government confused! Just apply!

Want to join Olivia at UK Parliament? Check out their profile for all current opportunities.