Westminster MPs visited Exeter for a careers panel discussion

My Life as an MP: A Careers Panel Discussion

On December 2nd, five MPs, including two Exeter alumni, gathered in Exeter. No, it wasn’t for Prime Minister’s Questions; nor were they campaigning. They were here to offer some candid employability advice to Exeter students. Around 100 students turned up for ‘My Life as an MP,’ a panel discussion organised by the College of Social Sciences and International Studies.

In a discussion moderated by Claire Dunlop, Senior Lecturer in Politics, MPs Adrian Bailey, Ben Bradshaw, James Brokenshire, Anne Marie Morris, and Neil Parish advised students to develop the key qualities of drive, belief, self-awareness, and open-mindedness. They shared with students stories of the challenges in the life of an MP, as well as their education and career choices before entering politics.

Joe James, third-year Politics student and President of the Politics society, called the event ‘a great opportunity to find out a little bit more about the actual day to day working lives of our representatives in Parliament.’ He attests that ‘the MPs gave out very good advice for anyone interested in finding a job at Westminster, and the opportunity to have a chat and network with the attendees [at the drinks reception after the discussion] was another big positive for me.’

Andrew Massey, Head of Politics, called the event ‘a great success,’ observing that ‘the five visiting MPS were very open and friendly, discussing their lives as politicians, their motivation, career choices and many different aspects of their work in a relaxed and informal way with the students. It was good for the students to see politicians as they really are; committed public servants who do a demanding job often at some considerable personal sacrifice.’

A week later, on Friday 9th December, the event was mirrored for students studying politics at the University of Exeter’s Tremough campus.  MPs George Eustice, Sarah Newton and Stephen Gilbert answered questions on how they developed their passion for politics and were quizzed by students on what were the good and not so good aspects to the job.

It seems safe to say that all involved left the event feeling like they really understand what it means to be a Member of Parliament. For our students, learning about the life of an MP could just be a small step on the way being one. 

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