A report from a work experience student who spent a week at my office

July 21, 2015

On my first day of work experience with Sir Oliver Heald MP and his wife, Christine, I accumulated opinions for and against the Hunting Act which, despite proving to be unnecessary due to the cancellation of the vote, gave my experience an initial sense of importance.

Another highlight of my week, working as an intern, was seeing Boris Johnson in Parliament during the budget debate, and to hear him make a short speech during the debate made the experience even more memorable. This debate was also the subject of heated discussion, as the budget proved to be a controversial topic, which was both entertaining and exciting.

Also, overseeing London from the top of the House of Commons – which I was told was the best view of Big Ben possible – was a truly magnificent experience as only a small selection of people can have access to such an extraordinary location.

When approaching the mid-point of the week, I was given the opportunity to deliver a petition, from North-East Hertfordshire, to 10 Downing Street. Despite the slightly intimidating policemen with machine guns, delivering the petition and having our photos taken at the door made for an incredible occasion. Furthermore, a tour of the Houses of Parliament proved to be very interesting. I was shown a bit of damage done to one of the tables in the House of Lords which is apparently caused by Winston Churchill slamming the ring on his finger against the table viciously when giving speeches. It is fascinating to know about the traditions that are still carried out in this modern-day democracy.

In addition, I watched other Parliamentary discussions regarding whether sex education lessons should continue at school, and whether only English MPs only should vote for English laws. During this, I was not only interested by the oral questions but the traditions within Parliament, such as the repetition of the phrase ‘my honourable friend’.

Finally, I completed two press releases during the latter end of the week. One of which was for the National Responsible Business Champion Award which took place in the Speaker’s house and was a very prestigious occasion. Secondly, I created a press release regarding the unemployment figures in North-East Hertfordshire.

To summarise, my week as an intern was very memorable, and the opportunities that I was given made me feel very honoured to be within such a prestigious place.
-Marcus Hutchinson

Two summer opportunities for budding young journalists

July 1, 2015

I am pleased to see that the News Academy is running two free summer-time activities for budding young journalists to get a flavour of the profession and hone their skills.

The News Academy Summer School is a free week-long journalism training programme for students aged 16 to 18 from across the UK and Ireland. Based at the London headquarters of The Times, Sunday Times, and The Sun, 15 students will get the opportunity to write, edit, and publish their own newspaper, with the help of some top journalists. Accommodation, travel, and food in London are included for the duration of the Summer School.

Students can apply on the News Academy website with the submission of an essay of up to 500 words on something they are passionate about. Applications close at midnight on 19th July.

Secondly, the Great British Sound Off is a programme for 18 to 24 year olds for which the News Academy has teamed up with The Sun newspaper to run a competition seeking out promising young columnists. Five 18 to 24 year-old finalists will see their column appear in The Sun Newspaper.

To apply, entrants need to write about why they deserve to win and submit 200 words on something they feel passionate about at thesun.co.uk/gbso

Both of these are excellent opportunities, and I urge all aspiring journalists in North East Hertfordshire to apply.


Reports from two work experience students who spent a week at my office

June 25, 2015

Being given an opportunity such as this has motivated me to pursue a career in the field of politics or international relations. Prior to the placement I was somewhat undecided as to what I wanted to do in the future. However, having been able to work with people as well-informed as Sir Oliver Heald MP and all of his wonderful staff I have developed a much clearer insight into a world that I already found interesting.

My highlight of the week was definitely Prime Minister’s Questions on the Wednesday. It is such a renowned event, and this was clear to see from the large queue that had formed prior to session. I found the experience both insightful and educational – being in such close proximity to David Cameron himself, as well as other well-recognised MPs such as Alex Salmond, Ed Miliband, and Boris Johnson was a truly memorable experience. Most people only get to see them on the television. Furthermore, we saw a number of famous faces around Parliamentary Estate, particularly in Portcullis House where we saw Brian May (lead guitarist for Queen).

Overall the experience was truly eye-opening and has definitely been influential in my decision as to what I will do in the future. I would like to say thank you to Sir Oliver Heald MP, and also to Christine, Robert and Mara who have been a great help throughout the week – Callum Goodall

work ex

Working within Parliament has always been an ambition of mine, naturally when the opportunity to do work experience for Sir Oliver arrived I jumped at the chance. This week has certainty not disappointed me and has instead provided me with a personal insight as to how our government is so successful. I’ve been able work alongside researchers, watch debates and see famous faces such as Deborah Meaden.

The part of the week which I particularly enjoyed was watching Prime Minister’s Questions. The Prime Minsters questions was both interesting and humorous, the humour mostly being provided by John Bercow, The Speaker.  Being able to have lunch next to Ed Miliband, sharing a corridor with Alex Salmond and being only a glass panel away from David Cameron was truly unforgettable.

My experience here has been wonderful, I can’t thank Sir Oliver and his staff enough for showing me around and teaching me more about politics. I would like to say a special thank you to Sir Oliver Heald, his wife Christine, Robert and Mara. I would recommend that everyone who is given this opportunity to take it, it’s one of the most rewarding week of my life – Eleanor Sangan