What’s your story?
I graduated from the University of Exeter about four years ago. I was on a three-year course and then stayed on as Student Union President for a year afterwards, full time. I then went on to work in advertising for a while and an education company- so I tried out a few different things whilst I was applying to the fast stream.
Has anything surprised you since you started working at UK Parliament?
When I came into Parliament, I thought that I would need to know everything about how it worked. The summer before I remember ferociously trying to read lots of books about it to try and study up on it. In our first week, our induction week, they said to us "we're not expecting you to have any prior knowledge, we're going to start with what is the difference between Parliament and Government, starting with the basics. We're going to train you up to become experts in Parliament". That really surprised me and was really refreshing as I was quite stressed beforehand.
What have you found most exciting?
In December last year, I led an enquiry on the Windrush scandal at the Home Office and there was another enquiry in January about the BBCs use of personal service companies. Those both got quite a lot of national attention and exposed some failings at the centre of Government so that was interesting and a really rewarding thing to be involved in. Also, before the summer recess I worked on a project to empower women who are likely to give evidence to committees in the future - to familiarise them with the rooms, how evidence sessions work. It gave them the chance to talk to the Chair about what she's looking for and tips for giving evidence. We had about twenty civil servants all in a room together, it felt like the future, it was very encouraging!
Finally, any tips for anyone who’d like to apply for a similar role at UK Parliament?
My advice would be to really drill into the key competencies before you go into any stage of the process. You just need to be passionate about politics and about working in this sector. You don't need to know all the minutiae of the rules. The one thing that I'd wish I had done was talk to someone that was already in UK Parliament. When you get to the final panel interview for Parliament, they do link you up with a buddy. This was helpful as they could give you an insight into the application process and the job. I wish I'd had the chance to speak to someone beforehand just to settle my nerves.