Please note that w4mp is a small, distributed organisation with neither an office or even a coffee machine or photocopier, and we’re not able to offer internships or other placements.
If you are a school student looking for work experience then the Parliament website has some information.
Getting an Internship
If you want some work experience with an MP, these are the things you should begin by thinking about:
- Would you prefer to work for an MP from a particular political party? Be aware that, in general, unless you have a clear reason such as a geographical link to a particular MP’s constituency area or a strong link to a campaign they have been involved with, an MP will expect you to have a preference for their party (although not necessarily party membership) before taking you on.
- How much time can you give? How many days per week and over what period of time? Be prepared to state your requirements clearly at the start of your placement, and stick to them – remember that if you aren’t being paid, you are free to go whenever you want. However, being reliable within the hours you originally offered will be appreciated.
- What hours are convenient for you? You might have regular classes or other engagements or you might want to travel after 9.30am to avoid paying peak fares.
- What money do you need? You might be able to support yourself or you might require an allowance for travel or even lunch.
- What particular skills do you have? Can you type? Do you have casework or research experience? Are you able to update websites? Do you have document production or design skills? etc.
- Do you have any disabilities, either physical or mental, which the MP should be aware of in order to make reasonable adjustments to enable you to take the placement?
Having got this information together, write to those MPs for whom you would like to work. If you are not sure which MPs you might want to work for, do some research on individual MPs. Some good starting information can be found on the parliament.uk website, where you can browse MPs by party and get links to their own websites. The postal address is: House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA; switchboard tel. no. 020 7219 3000.
You are probably best advised to contact your local MP first as s/he may be better disposed to employing you, whether or not you support their party – although it may be wise not to stress any strong objections you may have to it!
Alternatively, check the job section on this site regularly and apply for the internships that are posted there from time to time. Don’t contact the agencies below as they provide placements for specific universities and programmes and do not generally place individuals who approach them.
For hints and tips on applications, have a look at our Guide on Looking for a job working for an MP.
The Guardian article “The Politician’s Apprentice” 22 July 2004, on why you should be a Westminster intern and how to go about it, is a little out of date, but still worth a read. The recruitment site JobHero has a useful guide it calls ‘The Ultimate Internship Guide‘.