If you would like to come and do a weeks work experience in my office please email me at email@example.com
Having an avid interest in both politics and law has recently made it somewhat difficult for me to decide with certainty as to which career path I wish to pursue. I have already had the privilege of working within legal firms and therefore wanted to acquire experience working within the parliamentary sphere in order to make an informed decision moving forwards.
I was fortunate to spend the first day of the week-long work experience within the Chichester office before spending the remainder of the week up in Westminster; I therefore observed the running of both the constituency and parliamentary offices. This gave me an insight into the different requests and demands of each office as well as the slightly varying feel/culture that they possess.
Throughout the week I undertook numerous tasks, including: drafting letters and responses to constituents covering a plethora of different subject matters, researching the Domestic Violence Bill 2019, researching several different centres offering support to vulnerable people, aiding in arranging a venue for an upcoming event, and acquiring information on various topics for potential Chichester Observer entries. I also had the privilege of being given a brief tour around the Palace of Westminster and learning about the history of the building and the events which take place daily within its walls.
The experience was both enjoyable and informative and I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in pursuing a career in politics. I am very grateful to Gillian Keegan MP and the rest of the team and cannot thank them enough for providing me with this amazing opportunity.
Oliver Vickery - constituent
When my work experience with Gillian at Westminster was confirmed, I was delighted. It certainly lived up to my expectations, and more. Walking across the Parliamentary Estate and recognising familiar politicians and sitting in on a Commons debate was amazing. Working with Gillian and her excellent team has proven to be more than exciting with the fast-paced work. From researching statistics and essential information for briefings to attending Gillian’s meetings – this truly is a great opportunity for anyone interested in politics.
For me, it was a great insight into how much work goes on behind the office door. There was always something going on in the office, and something interesting or important that someone was working on. A day in the office could involve going through Gillian’s post, cataloguing constituents’ emails, research, planning and communication for speeches, events and meetings. Personally, I really enjoyed researching for Gillian’s upcoming events, it was fun to learn more about crucial issues that are relevant to constituents and communities - to think that I would be a part of the work that supports my MP seemed unreal. And if that wasn’t close enough to the political action, to sit-in a meeting with Gillian, taking notes while she was discussing business proposals that were relevant to real problems such as education and the environment was a brilliant opportunity.
Overall, the experience has given me a real perspective of how MPs, like Gillian, work in Parliament; their responsibilities and tasks, but also, I have worked alongside the great team that are constantly planning, researching, writing and logging information for her. Gillian and the whole team have made me feel very welcome and included - and I was overwhelmed by the responsibilities they have entrusted me with. Also, the team have been great when I have needed support, asked questions about my work and how to get around Parliament. Having completed my work experience with Gillian and her team at Westminster, I now feel more knowledgeable about following a career path in politics and all the opportunities that it offers. For anyone thinking about a future career in politics I would highly recommend applying for work experience with Gillian Keegan MP.
John Blanding - 21 year old, constituent
I thoroughly enjoyed my week in Westminster. It started off with meeting Gillian’s staff, all very welcoming and lovely. To start with, I was given a research project on the pressing issue of climate change. I needed to find out some facts and figures on the issue and future plans to prevent or reduce the impacts. This project was to brief Gillian before she spoke to groups such as Extinction Rebellion, and EcoChi answering their questions.
The second day had me reading constituents emails and showed me how many emails she receives on a daily basis, on all sorts of issues. Towards the end of the second day, I was asked to take notes on a meeting where Gillian was addressing two carers, who worked in a care home and was listening to their stories. This showed me how much Gillian connects with the public and does everything she can to meet the their needs (not an easy task considering how many opinions come flying her way).
On the third day, I was asked if I wanted to enter the House of Commons. I gladly accepted, and listened in the chamber, to MP’s try and put forward different bills. One being an environmental bill which will help with flooding reservoirs.
As the week progressed, I felt I was becoming more a part of Gillian’s team. So, overall, the week’s work experience was not only eye-opening but it was very enjoyable, and showed me how much politicians have to deal with at one time.
Luke Sherren - 17 years old
After a long time desire to work in the world of Westminster, my week of work experience has given me a further insight into how Parliament works, as well as to give me a hands-on experience in the Office of Gillian Keegan MP.
On my first day, I was given the opportunity to write a briefing for Gillian Keegan, for a Home Office meeting later on in the week, as Gillian is the Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid. It allowed me to learn more about the workings of the department itself, after collating information from the department from previous weeks, as well as gain a better idea of how such meetings are conducted.
On Tuesday, I was lucky enough to watch a panel of the Women in Work All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), of which Gillian is Co-Chair. From this, I gained a better understanding of the function of APPG’s, whilst learning about how women, as well as social and ethnic minorities, can connect and receive support through affinity groups in the workplace.
On the same day, I was able to sit in another APPG meeting, but this time for the APPG on Motor Neurone Disease. My task was to take notes about what the MPs and specialists were discussing so that I could relay this information back to the office. Attending such events increased my awareness of the role that APPG’s play in the workings of Parliament, whilst also letting me gain access to an abundance of new information about both areas, which otherwise I would have been oblivious to.
Later in the week, I was tasked with writing a briefing for a meeting regarding recommendations for the Domestic Abuse Bill. I was then given the opportunity to see the briefing in action, attending the meeting with Gillian and representatives from the charity Women’s Aid. This week I was also able to draft letters for constituents, enabling me to see more of the fantastic work of those in the Chichester community.
During my placement, I visited the House of Commons chamber, where I witnessed a debate on the need for further devolution of powers to devolved administrations, allowing me to see the role that Parliament and MPs play on a national scale.
By Stephanie Holmes - 17 years old, student at Chichester High School
My work experience with Gillian was vastly different from what I had expected. I did not know that I would be exposed to so much during the week. The time that I have spent here has served to act as a catalyst in my desire to study Politics at university. The experiences and events that I have been involved in were invaluable to giving me a better understanding of Parliament. I would strongly recommend that fellow constituents looking for an exciting, varied and hands-on work experience placement that will give them a genuine insight into the world of work, and the world of politics to take the opportunity to spend the week with the Office of Gillian Keegan MP.
Whilst being on a work experience placement here in Gillian Keegan's Office I have been doing a vast number of roles such as writing up letters for constituents who have achieved something notable, attending meetings as well as researching for future events Gillian may be attending. I have been able to have day-to-day interactions with Gillian seeing what she does, the places she goes, and the work she has to put in as an MP.
I was able to attend a chamber debate that was on immigration and really interesting. I have never seen a commons chamber debate live, so that was fascinating to see how the MPs approach debates and see first-hand how they prepare for it. I also had a tour of the Palace of Westminster, where I was shown around the building and given an insight into historical events that have taken place there. I was also able to see around the Lords and Commons chambers which I have never been able to see. On the tour, I was also given factual information on the process of how laws are passed which may benefit my A-level course.
This has been one of the most influential and eye-opening experiences I have ever done. It has allowed me to really see into what an MP really does and how it affects people. It has helped me understand the political structure of Westminster.
By Ellis Brundle - 17 years old, student and West Sussex Youth Cabinet Member for Barnham and Eastergate.
My week at Westminster kicked off quickly on Monday learning about the inner workings of a parliamentary office. Seeing how Gillian’s amazing staff deal with constituents’ problems, helping them personally or directing them to the someone who can. On my second day I helped to work through the overwhelming amount of invitations that Gillian receives on a daily basis which really showed me how hard she works to try and meet as many people as possible.
On Wednesday I got given a chance to help pull together some ideas for an article that may go in the paper in a few weeks. This made me feel like a part of her team and cemented my beliefs that I want to go into parliament one day whether as staff or as an MP.
As the week went on, I felt more like I was part of the team with Gillian’s team supporting me and slowly giving me more responsibility. It was an eye opener to see the diversity of work they do and it is clear that behind every successful MP there is a dedicated parliamentary team behind them.
I also got the chance to watch a live debate in the House of Commons Chamber. The Bill MPs were discussing was the Fisheries Bill, that I learnt is important for our constituency because of Selsey.
Overall my time in Gillian’s office has been extremely enjoyable and exciting. The opportunity has given me an insight into the inner workings of the House of Commons and has shown me how hard Gillian and her team work to make sure her constituents can get the right support they need, as well as dealing with national issues that impact everyone across the country such as Brexit and the Agriculture Bill. This has been a valuable experience which has confirmed my interest to go into politics and I hope to be able to come again soon.
By Dylan Collier - 16 years old, student at Bishop Luffa
As someone who has been inspired by Gillian’s path to a political career, I have thoroughly enjoyed spending a week in her office in Westminster. There was never a moment where I didn’t have something interesting to do, and as I completed my work experience during Parliamentary recess, I felt I was able to really help in the office whilst other members of staff were away. I was responsible for mailing out letters to inform constituents of Gillian’s thoughts on current Brexit negotiations, as well as filing letters and emails from constituents.
The thing that surprised me most was not just the scope of issues constituents write to their MP about, but the hard work of Gillian and her team to ensure everyone receives a response that is as helpful and supportive as possible. Their diligent, hands on approach was encouraging to see, as I have now witnessed that proactive MPs such as Gillian continue to effectively deal with local issues alongside playing a key role in the Public Accounts Committee and supporting the government with Brexit.
As someone who will be studying a politics degree in September, this week has been invaluable, and has confirmed to me that I would love to work in the Houses of Parliament in the future. I am extremely grateful to Gillian for continuing to offer work experience, and to Juliette who organised my week here. The atmosphere in the office couldn’t have been friendlier, and I am so appreciative of the fact Juliette, Leanne and Lawrence made me feel so welcome. After hearing of friends who were disappointed by their work experience, I am thrilled to have been lucky enough to have spent my time in Parliament feeling as though I was part of Gillian’s team and learning a lot about the workings of British politics. I hope that I will be able to return soon!
By Anna Sutton - 18 years old
Over the recent times of uncertainty in politics with the whole Brexit fiasco, I found myself getting more and more interested in politics and how the country works. As someone studying economics, I am aware of how much the politics and economics interact with each other and the large amount of influence it has over people’s every day lives. I was less knowledgeable about politics but my week’s work experience at Portcullis House has filled that information gap, and has provided me with an excellent insight into the action ‘behind the scenes’ into not only the role of a politician but of how politics works overall.
I came into the week not knowing what to expect as my previous work experience was a bit disappointing, however in a time where there were resignations and Brexit negotiations going on all the time, there was never a dull moment. I felt valued by Gillian’s team and I felt that I made meaningful contributions throughout the week, whether that would be closing cases or sorting through emails. The opportunities that I was provided with made my week more enjoyable, such as being able to sit in on committee meetings and interviews with the press, companies and other MPs. With the highlight being a tour of the Houses of Parliament, something which really captivated my interest, with it being such an important place in the day to day of British politics.
Overall, this work experience has been very enjoyable and valuable and it has given me new found knowledge that I wouldn’t have otherwise possessed, I have learnt many things about the workplace, the London life and about myself too. I have even learnt a few things that I can use in my role on the Sixth Form committee at my school! I would like to thank Gillian’s team for the opportunity to work alongside them for the week, the atmosphere in the office cannot be replicated elsewhere.
By Samuel Osmend – 17 years old, student at Bishop Luffa
My interest in politics has only recently come about after the recent decision to leave the European Union. Following on from the decision of Brexit, my week of work experience saw many reshuffles in parliament that occurred in the Cabinet over the week. Working in parliament on a week of such changes definitely added a sense of excitement.
During my week I had the fantastic opportunity of visiting the Houses of Parliament, which I have never experienced before. As I have the ambition to study History at University, it was great to learn how politics has developed over time. Also, I was given the opportunity to visit the public gallery and witness a debate on Universal Credit in the chamber of the Houses of Commons. This has given me a first-hand insight into the traditional theatrics often associated with politics and the structure of such parliamentary style debates. Contrastingly, working in Gillian’s office in Portcullis house for a week has given me insight into the ‘untelevised’ side of politics. From working in the office, it has certainly made me aware of the demands of being an MP and the demands of serving one’s constituents. I now value the work that Gillian and her team do to run the constituency.
One experience over the week which I will definitely remember is watching the 100 RAF planes fight over for the centenary anniversary on the roof of 1 Parliament Street. Without this incredible opportunity of work experience with Gillian, I certainly wouldn’t have had the incredible view I had on the day.
I am extremely thankful to Gillian and her team for giving me an extremely valuable and insightful work experience. It has definitely inspired me to consider a future career in politics.
By Sophie Brownbill - 17 years old, student at Midhurst Rother College
My interest in politics began in the weeks leading up to the 2015 election. It was a simpler time, with regards to both the political atmosphere itself and my knowledge thereof. Since that time, I wanted to see what exactly goes on behind the scenes, behind the theatrics of the chamber.
There are some things that one can only learn through directly experiencing them, and the workings of an MP’s office is one of them. It’s very easy to forget that politics isn’t just about the big, nationwide issues; the role of communicating directly with constituents is too often understated and underappreciated. That is at the core of what I learnt in the days I have spent here, and seeing first-hand what an MP has to do, simply on a constituency level, has given me a newfound respect for the work that politicians and their assistants have to do every day.
As someone whose only experience of ‘work’ is within a classroom, being able to experience what it is like to be a part of a highly varied work environment has been both refreshing and informative, and for that, I am very grateful for this opportunity.
By Felix Williams - 16 years old, constituent
My week of work experience in Westminster, began with a sense of uncertainty, not knowing fully what I was walking in to. I wanted to come and take part in work experience for Gillian as I’m starting a Politics and International Relations degree at University in September. However, this sense of uncertainty was quickly eradicated by the friendly and welcoming atmosphere her team offered me in the office.
Immediately, I was plunged straight in to work, helping work through the overwhelming amount of emails and invitations Gillian receives on a weekly basis. My admiration for Gillian as a role model has increased dramatically over the week, seeing how hard she works to try and please and meet as many people as possible. I feel very fortunate to have such a proactive MP representing my area. Gillian also took time and interest to ask me about the work I was doing, while I sat in on team meeting, where they asked questions, got responses and signatures to continue their busy jobs.
On my second day, I got an amazing opportunity to take a tour of Westminster Palace. Having studied law at a-level, I already had a good understanding of the parliamentary law-making system, however seeing it in practise gave me a far deeper understanding. I also have a great passion for history, so learning the history of democracy in the UK was deeply fascinating. There was also an exhibition on in Westminster Hall about 100 years of female suffrage, which was extremely empowering and moving. Gillian has worked closely to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of female suffrage, giving context to the later research I did on the topic.
Out of all the jobs I did over my week, the one I found most enjoyable and rewarding was researching. From researching issues constituents had raised in emails, to finding about a bout people Gillian would be meeting later that week. The variety and diversity of the topics I was researching meant the work was enjoyable and fast paced.
Overall, my time in Gillian’s office in Westminster has been extremely enjoyable and exciting. She has a real passion for supporting others, meaning she is always open to welcoming new people searching for experience. It has also shown me this is really what I want to do when I am older, and has given me a drive and goals to work towards throughout university. With the help of her amazing team and buzzing environment, I will certainly be back soon to see what else this amazing job has to offer.
By Sophie Campbell - 17 years old, student at Bishop Luffa
For the past few years I have found myself gravitate towards politics, especially in times of polarisation. Despite being a Theatre student, I have organically developed a fascination with the world of politics, its mechanisms and its quirks; so much that I’d consider it an alternative career path to what I’m currently doing. I wanted to do work experience with Gillian and her office to get a better grasp of what goes on behind the scenes and what’s included in a politician’s life and duties. By working with Gillian’s team, I was able to do relevant jobs to contribute to the work load and help members of the team keep the ball rolling. It’s a great feeling to be useful within a team like Gillian’s and to be trusted with responsibility, as actively working in the parliamentary office gave me a holistic understanding of work involved with being an MP. This experience combined with exploring parliament as a whole; having tours, sitting in on debates and watching the Chamber provided an exciting and extremely educational week – well worth every minute, and such fun.
I am able to apply the things I’ve learned into the theatre I create as much of it is very politics focused, and by gaining more knowledge I am able to stand stronger in my views despite being extremely outnumbered!
By Amy Sheppard - 20 years old, student at the University of Chichester
Despite having an interest in politics since a young age, I had never had the opportunity to visit the Houses of Parliament. I was fortunate enough to be offered to take a placement module in the Second year of my degree, which gave me opportunity to work in Gillian Keegan’s Office. Having expected to have only been working in the constituent office in Chichester, I was excited to learn that I would be working with her staff in Westminster.
My work during the week was both varied and rewarding. I spent the majority of my time reading and responding to emails from constituents and other departments, alongside conducting research and completing administrative tasks, such as organizing Gillian’s calendar, and sorting the extensive correspondence she receives in the post. Throughout the week, I was able to meet with Gillian and analyse the work I had been doing, whilst also having the opportunity to discuss her work as an MP first hand!
During the week, I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to have a tour of the House of Lord’s chamber. It was fascinating to learn of the history of British government, dating back to the beginning of political debate, something which I knew little about. Furthermore, during the tour, I was able to witness the procession of the Speaker of the House of Commons, a tradition which I didn’t know existed!
The highlight of my time in Westminster, was being able to sit in the gallery at the House of Commons, and watch a debate, in which Gillian was taking part. It was interesting to see the process in which debates in the house take place, whilst witnessing MP’s debating topics that I had been following.
At the end of the week, I was given the opportunity to work in the constituency office in Chichester. It was interesting to see the two different sides of working as an MP, from dealing with national and international issues, to specific constituent concerns in Chichester.
I am very grateful to Gillian and her team for opportunity, and I hope I will be able to visit Westminster again in the near future.
By Toby Tompkins - 20 years old, student at the University of Chichester
I began my week of work experience at the Westminster office of Gillian Keegan MP not quite sure what to expect being in the political hub of our country. One could feel the busy atmosphere; everyone who I walked past was occupied with their own jobs on their mind, places to be and people to see, the atmosphere really was fantastic.
In Gillian’s office one thing I noticed was just how many letters and e-mails an MP receives every day, from constituents, from other MP’s and Ministers. Throughout the day many constituents also phoned the office sharing their concerns and cases which all require specific research in order to be dealt with.
During my week of work experience, I was fortunate enough to go on a tour of Parliament and see both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Many areas that I viewed on my tour were instantly recognizable, like the statues of former Prime Ministers including Sir Winston Churchill and Margret Thatcher. All these famous places which I had previously only seen in the Background of the 10 O’clock news.
For all of the week I always felt engaged, having an interesting job to do. Even whilst having lunch we were never short of something to talk about, debating issues and discussing our differing views. Whilst making my way to the office I would walk past MP’s in the corridor I was even lucky enough to see Amber Rudd and Dianne Abbott whilst up in Westminster.
On my final day of work experience, I worked in the Constituency office in Chichester, which was just as interesting as working at Gillian’s office in London. Overall, I would say what has surprised me the most during this week was the breadth of issues that an MP has to deal with; including responding to local issues from constituents but also attending committee meetings and debates on national scale. Both of these equally important tasks require a lot of time and effort.
I am extremely thankful to Gillian and her staff for allowing me the opportunity to work alongside them this week, an opportunity which I am extremely grateful for. They couldn’t have been more friendly and welcoming, giving me advice and guidance when I needed it. This has been a thoroughly valuable experience and an amazing insight into the world politics. I hope I am one-day fortunate enough to return to Westminster.
By Ethan Storey - 14 years old, Bishop Luffa student
The week beginning 15th January I went to the Houses of Parliament to join Gillian Keegan MP`s office doing work experience. I spent the majority of my time helping in a caseworker role doing work with Leanne, organising and answering emails, along with doing some research and administrative jobs. Throughout the week I was given far more responsibility than I expected, giving me a proper insight into the day to day running’s of an MP`s office.
Since I was around the age of 11 I have always had a profound interest in Politics and first visited the Palace of Westminster with my Grandparents just before my 12th birthday. On the first day of my work experience in Westminster I was given a tour of the Palace arranged by Gillian`s office for me, the history and everything the building itself represents completely astounded me every day I walked in. During the week I was also able to watch Prime Ministers Questions in the Houses of Commons, sit in on a Parliamentary Accounts Committee debate and experience the roles of those inside the MP`s offices, from sitting with Gillian deciding subjects for a suitable question for PMQs to the arranging of Gillian`s busy diary.
On the Friday, I spent the day in the Chichester offices, a change of scenery to the bustle of Portcullis House. I was lucky enough to then have my work experience extended into the next week which enabled me to gain even more experience. I was made to feel like a part of the office for the time I was up there, rather than just an addition for a few days, which made the whole experience even more exciting! My week in Westminster confirmed my interest in gaining a career in Politics and I hope to have another opportunity to go up again soon.
By Charlotte Capelin - 19 years old, constituent
In my week in Westminster I was lucky enough to discover the Country’s representative democracy in practice, by witnessing the work of MPs and their staff. Having arrived at Portcullis House on my first day, I was struck by the scale of parliament and the work done there to represent all areas of the country. Gillian and her office team were very welcoming and informative, while helping me make the most of my time at Westminster. I particularly enjoyed watching a packed House of Commons deliberating our countries issues, as well as, the rich political history of Westminster Palace.
While party politics is obviously very defined here, I was impressed by the efforts for cross-party consensus and cooperation for the benefit of the country. For example, on my second day, I watched Gillian as well as MP's from more than one party take part in a Charity wheelchair basketball event to raise awareness of Polio, which shows the diverse aspects of her job. As well as this, viewing a meeting of the Public Accounts Select Committee showed me how cross-party consensus can achieve positive change for the country.
Overall, my week was informative, engaging and ultimately very fun; I would recommend that more young people get active in politics as I have in my work experience placement. I left Westminster with an appreciation of the work done in democracy, and a respect for those that do it.
By Theo Kent - 18 years old, student at Havant College.
At such an eventful time in the UK's history, taking part in work experience in the Houses of Parliament has surely changed my understanding of the inner workings of the political system. I began work for Gillian during Parliamentary Recess, with plenty needing to be done in order to prepare for the following weeks. I was able to lend a hand in research tasks for Gillian, getting to know more about the issues that she raises awareness for with her constituents. I spent time creating briefings for upcoming school visits, a parliamentary campaign she had been asked to join and research into constituents who had been awarded on the New Year Honours list. I was also tasked with organising some of Gillian’s mail which enabled me to gain an understanding of the types of issues that Gillian was focusing on within her constituency and the types of events she would be attending in order to raise awareness of them.
Working for Gillian and her team gave me the opportunity to ask questions and find out more about the day to day workings of Westminster and see it in action. I learnt things that took me by surprise and that I wouldn’t have expected and my experience has certainly benefitted the way that I view Westminster.
By Freya Hutchins - 16 years old
I was invited to spend the day in Parliament with Gillian Keegan and her team, giving me the opportunity to discover lots about the life of an MP behind the scenes. I started the morning in Gillian’s office with Juliette and Lawrence, opening her post and organising it into piles, depending on whom they were from. There were a lot more letters from constituents and invitations than I was expecting! I helped to scan these letters in and organise invitations into chronological order, to help Gillian organise her busy schedule.
After a morning seeing what it was like in a busy MP’s office, I had a ticket to watch Prime Minister’s Questions, something I have always wanted to do. The experience was very different to how I had first imagined, with lots of shouting on both sides and generally being a lot louder than I expected. The atmosphere was quite chaotic, but all in all it was a very fun experience, and I’m glad I have seen what it is like inside the chamber.
Gillian, my uncle and I then had lunch together in the Strangers’ Dining Room, where, I have to say, the food is amazing! We spoke about all things politics, and many of my favourite MPs were dotted around, like Zac Goldsmith and Chuka Umunna.
I then returned to Gillian’s office and read a report regarding the inherent biases that marginalised groups, such as women, have to face up to, both in the workplace and when deciding which field of work they would like to enter, and an advisory plan of how these should be tackled. However, the thing I found interesting was the number of men who also suffer as a consequence of gender stereotypes, feeling they cannot go into professions such as care.
Finally, I finished my day by returning to the chamber to listen to a debate about the collapse of Carillion into liquidation, and hearing the opposing views on how to deal with this issue was insightful, and highlighted the difference between the two sides.
All in all I found the day hugely inspiring, and I am hoping to return again in the summer to work with Gillian, Juliette and Lawrence again. Gillian’s success as both a business women as well as the hands on role she adopts as an MP particularly inspired me; she has done so much already for the Chichester community, as well as in helping women gain equality in fields such as engineering. She has motivated me to work hard and hopefully have an equally successful career.
By Anna Sutton - 18 years old