Elliott is a Postgraduate student on our Security MA course and was offered an internship opportunity over the summer with All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Drones. Read all about his experience below.
Why did you decide to undertake a professional placement year?
Upon hearing of the internship opportunity, I applied for the internship with the APPG because it afforded an opportunity to gain invaluable experience of the inner workings of Parliament which would further my career perspectives. Not only this, but there was also no possibility for the internship to clash with my ongoing MA studies, as it was designed to operate alongside the MA course, with a reasonable workload. This made the decision to apply incredibly easy. To gain relevant experience whilst also carrying out my studies was an amazing opportunity which is not commonly offered.
What did you expect from your internship before you started and what actually happened?
Initially, there was of course a level of apprehension, indeed I was aware that working in and around Westminster had the potential to be an intimidating and high-pressure work environment. However, upon starting the internship, the environment was anything but intimidating, rather it was incredibly enriching and one which allowed me to meet several interesting and forthcoming individuals (albeit virtually!)
What kind of duties and responsibilities did you have in your placement role?
The most common responsibility undertaken during my internship with the APPG was the taking of minutes during group meetings. These minutes were subsequently provided to Parliamentarians and members of the House of Lords and therefore had to be accurate and thorough. Beyond this, there several administrative responsibilities and research tasks – indeed, these tasks were the most enriching aspect of my work for the APPG. Most notably, I was tasked with researching the targeting policies of specific countries of interest in advance of brief to be delivered to Parliamentarians in the subsequent months.
What was your biggest achievement during your internship?
What immediately comes to mind is the research brief that Lewis and I worked together on, which is to be used in the completion of an APPG brief later this month. To be able to engage the skills we developed since the beginning of our internship and produce an extensive piece of work at the end of the experience was incredibly enriching. That the brief is to be circulated amongst parliamentarians and key stakeholders is something I am incredibly proud of.
What was the biggest challenge you faced on your internship?
There were several challenged which I faced during my internship. Prior to the beginning of my work for the APPG, I was inexperienced in the technique of taking minutes, but this was a skill I soon obtained. Fortunately, the meetings are recorded, which made the minute-taking process much easier. A second key challenge was engaging with lengthy and sometimes complicated military/government documents, which I was required to draw out relevant information from. In being faced with this challenge, I soon became adept at navigating these large documents and doing so in a proficient and timely manner.
How will completing this internship benefit you in the future?
Whilst my ongoing studies are incredibly important to my career prospects in the future, gaining that experience in the workplace, not least Westminster, is incredibly important. Indeed, not only did the internship reaffirm my ambition to pursue a career in policy and security, but it too provided me with an experience of working within a professional environment and in collaboration with several individuals from different fields of work. I was therefore able to develop my ability to work in a team environment, particularly with Lewis, who I collaborated extensively with throughout. These skills will make all the different over the next few months as I look to transition from my university studies into full-time employment.