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Parliamentary Internship for Alex

Monday, 22 September 2014

Year 12 pupil Alexandra Hopkinson spent part of the summer holidays doing work experience. However, her placement was rather unusual, as she was working at the Houses of Parliament! After applying to Gordon Birtwistle, MP for Burnley, for the placement, Alex was welcomed into the House of Commons and given plenty of opportunities to stretch and enhance her skills in this fascinating environment.

Alex has written a short report following this amazing experience:

  

After completing my GCSE exams, I was privileged enough to be able to make contact with Gordon Birtwistle, MP for Burnley. After an application, he offered me a week's internship with him in the House of Commons.

After a personal tour of both the House of Commons and House of Lords, I was able to be fully immersed in working with many MPs during my week. Although I was based working with Mr Birtwistle's researchers in his office in the lead up to their summer recess, I also had the opportunity to attend many meetings. Each task varied greatly, from summarising reports regarding Mr Birtwistle's ambassadorial role in apprenticeships to be published to large companies promoting his schemes, to meeting with constituents to listen to their concerns.

However, my main role during the internship was working alongside Mr Birtwistle to help him secure a backbench business debate on the teaching of autism in schools. After attending a meeting of application during which many MPs brought their cases to the attention of the chair, I then gained the support of twenty-five MPs across each party, who pledged to speak and contribute to Mr Birtwistle's debate. In addition, I collated several constituent case studies which were referenced during the debate, which was held in the chambers on the 17th of July.

After also attending several Statutory Instrument meetings, during which minor amendments were made to current legislations, I also attended a rather tense Prime Minister's question time and had the privilege of securing a personal meeting with the Minister of State for Justice, Simon Hughes. This meeting was invaluable to me as I was able to gain expert advice into achieving my aspired career, law.

In addition to having a thoroughly enjoyable time attending a performance from the Military Wives' Choir, dining on the exclusive terrace and in the Strangers' restaurant, I learned many valuable and transferable skills, as well as gaining an insight into politics and forming networks which I would never have had the opportunity to otherwise.

Of course, the novelty of passing David Cameron and Nick Clegg in Portcullis House never wore off!

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Alex in the Houses of Parliament

Alex in the Houses of Parliament