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Students gain an insight into the world of politics

Each year, Members of Parliament in Westminster and across the country invite SMF students to gain a unique insight into the world of British politics. By spending a week working alongside MPs and their staff in parliamentary and constituency offices, students develop their understanding of the role of MPs as well as broader current affairs and the impact of government policy on their career sector. Processing case work, responding to constituency queries and attending live debates gave students an opportunity to develop key transferable skills, such as advocacy, research and teamwork.

This year, 36 students completed MP placements, including one student who spent two weeks with the Prime Minister David Cameron. Read below to find out how the students got on:

Parliament

Jack spent two weeks this summer working in the Prime Minister’s office and said, “The placement was amazing. I learned an incredible amount in such a short space of time. I will never forget my two weeks there.”

Mathuvi, pictured , spent one week at James Cartlidge MP’s parliamentary office this October and also had the opportunity to work with Stephen Timms MP. Mathuvi wrote: “The atmosphere in the office was great. I was given a deeper insight into how parliament actually runs and what all the jargon really means.”

Hatti Whitman, Parliamentary Assistant to James Cartlidge MP supervised Mathuvi throughout the week and wrote, “She has been an absolutely delight the whole week and we are going to miss her! She was helpful and attentive, and showed genuine enthusiasm. I really hope that she enjoyed her placement with us, she would be welcome back at any time.”

Mathuvi and James

Mathuvi (centre) with James Cartlidge MP (right) and Stephen Timms MP (left)

A placement was also offered by the Policy Research Unit based in the House of Commons. Samara, an aspiring law student, undertook the placement and wrote, “The Policy Research Unit has helped me to see politics in another light. Watching a live debate at the House of Commons about welfare allowed me to experience two sides of the argument and has further strengthened my political conviction. My visit to 10 Downing Street for the first time was remarkable.”

Constituency

Internships also took place across the country in constituency offices. Tom spent one week working alongside his local Rotherham MP, John Healey, in his Wentworth and Deane constituency office. Tom worked on a variety of tasks, including “writing full research briefings and written reports on Labour’s involvement in fracking, net neutrality and the 2015 Trade Union Bill.”

From this experience, he said – “I learnt a lot working at the constituency office, including just how much local people rely on and believe in their MPs in terms of going to them to help settle their small and large-scale problems, be it nuisance neighbours.”

In Milton Keynes, Jack completed a one week internship with his local MP, Iain Stewart. Jack was able to travel to Westminster during his placement and watch the Chancellor, George Osborne answer questions live in the House of Commons. “Without the help of the SMF, I wouldn’t have been able to take part in the internship so I am extremely grateful for being given this opportunity.” Read more about Jack’s experience here.

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