Lewis 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?
I applied for the Internship as the topic fascinated me and I had always been interested in drones and modern conflict. It also gave me the chance to apply the knowledge I had gained at Loughborough during my postgraduate degree and expand my knowledge further, this was particularly exciting as doing a job in your field of interest is always exciting. Similarly, when we met the Secretariat of the group pre-application process, they were really forthcoming with advice and support and working with supportive colleagues made the job so much more enjoyable and much easier!
What did you expect from your internship before you started and what actually happened?
Before I started the internship, I wasn’t sure what to expect, working alongside colleagues in Parliament is daunting and there was a sense of apprehension. However, as soon as we started at the APPG, we were made to feel welcome, introduced to lots of different stakeholders and really given the chance to contribute and collaborate.
What kind of duties and responsibilities did you have in your placement role?
During the internship, we were responsible for minute taking of meetings. These meeting minutes were being circulated to MPs and Lords so there was pressure to ensure everything was accurately captured and correct. We also made minutes at roundtable events and conferences to provide contemporary information on our subject area to the Secretariat and wider membership. There were other administrative elements to the role for example updating Excel spreadsheets with Parliamentary Questions. The most interesting duties were the research driven tasks, for example during our time at the APPG, we were tasked with researching the targeting policies of a variety of different states in preparation for an upcoming brief to members of Parliament.
What was your biggest achievement during your internship?
The biggest achievement during the internship was probably collaborating with my coursemate Elliot to research for a brief being produced by the APPG. The research was challenging as it meant scouring tens of policy documents to try and ascertain state policy and alliance policy on specific issues. This research will inform an upcoming brief being produced by the APPG so to have our research included in a document that will be circulated amongst MPs and key stakeholders is really exciting.
What new skills did you learn during your internship?
Efficient reading can be a difficult skill to harness and the internship has improved my skills in this area. On any given day, we were asked to read through policy documents that may span hundreds of pages and therefore, knowing what to look out for and reading efficiently was key to making the best use of our limited time. The internship also improved my independent working as the volume of tasks meant that prioritisation was required and organising my workload was vital.
How will completing this internship benefit you in the future?
I think any work and placement experience is beneficial and I would always encourage others to go for opportunities like the internship at the APPG. Demonstrating that you can work with others and function well in a professional environment can be really encouraging for employers and could make the difference when getting a full-time job after University. Also, I think internships are a good way to demonstrate your interest in a specific area or topic and allow you to expand your knowledge in your area of interest which you can then apply in your professional career.