If you’ve clicked on this link we’re guessing you’re at least a little bit interested in a career in politics. Or at least a little bit interested in finding out more about a career in politics. Well, the good news is there are loads of things you can do to try and get into politics: decide which party you support and join your local branch, support political campaigns, apply for internships with MPs or in Parliament. We’ve also come up with some events you could attend and websites that might be helpful while you’re trying to take your first step towards Westminster.
Universities often hold public lectures featuring high profile speakers, and anyone can get admission – though it might be worth ringing up first to check that there are seats. Some that are coming up soon:
The first is a lecture at Newcastle University on 19 February about the future of the Eurozone. Lord Eatwell, President of Queens’ College Cambridge will be speaking and he definitely knows a thing or two about the European economy – he’s Labour’s main spokesman for Treasury and Economic Affairs.
On March 5, Shirley Williams is speaking at the London School of Economics. She’s a former Labour Cabinet minister and one of the Gang Of Four who left Labour to start the Social Democrats. Entry is on a first come, first served basis so get down there quickly.
Then, on 9 May, Professor Jonathan Bradbury is giving a lecture at Swansea University. He’s a chair of politics at the university so he’s pretty knowledgeable and definitely worth listening to. He’ll be speaking on Devolution and the politics of the UK.
These aren’t the only public lectures on politics. There are loads at different universities and institutes, so keep an eye on noticeboards and online forums – we’ll be updating this page with new events as well! And don’t worry if you can’t make it, a lot of universities record the lectures and make them available for download.
They say in every field, it’s not what you know it’s who you know and in politics, that can definitely be true. So if your dad’s not the leader of the opposition or your mum doesn’t lunch with Nick Clegg’s wife you’ll need to make your own political contacts. One really good way of doing this is to attend networking events where other people interested in politics will be. And, as luck would have it, PubAffairs, which is a great networking resource for the politically-minded, organises a monthly networking event at a venue in Westminster. The next one is on 28 February at the Barley Mow pub, full details are on the website.
Work experience is as crucial in politics as in any other industry. Try emailing your local MP, or volunteering with the local headquarters of the party you support. The House of Commons work experience scheme is currently suspended, but we have good reason to believe it will return soon, so watch this space.
You might also want to consider the Civil Service, which is the structure which helps the government to develop and deliver policies and services. Work experience is run through individual departments, but there is also a highly-regarded fast-track scheme for graduates and a new apprenticeship programme for school-leavers.
If you’re looking for ways to stay up to date with political news, there’s some very good websites you should be checking on a daily basis. One of the best websites we found was Tweetminster, which analyses groups of experts in a particular field to find out what they are tweeting about, what links they are sharing and what they are talking about. In short, it tells you exactly what matters about politics right now.
If you’re addicted to your iPhone, you might want to consider having a look at some political apps. MyPolitics UK is a great community focussed app that enables you to follow tweets and hashtags and also encourages you to engage through surveys about your views on topical issues. There are loads out there but this list from the Huffington Post is a good place to start.
Hopefully you’ll now have some ideas about things you can do to help you to get started with a career in politics. If you’ve got any ideas we haven’t mentioned let us know either in the comments below, tweet us @GoThinkBig or message us on Facebook.