Degree: BA Philosophy and Political Economy
Current place of work: Senior Caseworker, Office of Dr Sarah Wollaston, MP
What is your current occupation? How has your degree helped you with your career decisions?
My current position is a Senior Caseworker for Dr Sarah Wollaston MP. My job involves dealing with enquiries and correspondence from constituents, concerning either helping them with their personal circumstances, or advising them on government policy and the MP's views. I research and draft responses by liaising with the appropriate bodies or organisations. I also help to run the MP's diary and provide briefs for meetings. I deal with the media by arranging interviews and assist with drafting articles. In addition, I update the MP's social media pages and attend meetings or events when the MP cannot.
The subjects I studied were relevant in helping me to secure my position, that I did a multi-discipline degree has been an advantage, as those who have done pure politics degrees are often not so versed in the sort of useful critical thinking skills that are often taught in philosophy modules.
How did your career path develop whilst at University?
My career path developed during my time at university as I became aware that I wanted to try and enter the political arena. This influenced the sorts of modules that I chose and gave me time to look in to what types of jobs are on offer in the political sector. I also attended some careers fair events which were helpful in providing more information about what certain careers entail.
What are your tips for breaking into politics?
For those interested in working for an MP, I recommend asking your own MP for some work-experience. Then make the most of any opportunity, though you may be given some more secretarial tasks to start with, show you can do them well and ask to be given more. I also recommend contacting your local political associations or councillors in order to start to gain some insight in to how politics works on the ground.
When trying to secure a permanent position with an MP make sure that you are not only aware of their views on issues of national importance but also issues of local importance in their constituency, the demography and location of a constituency are likely to affect the topics an MP works on.