Work Experience with Lady Sylvia Hermon

   Monday 27th January began one of the busiest and most rewarding weeks of my life thus far. The week when I would attend work experience with North Down MP, Lady Sylvia Hermon. Since the start of Year 13 when I began studying politics, I knew that I would like to spend my work experience with a politician so as to find out more about the profession and whether or not, it is something I would be interested in doing myself some day in the not so distant future.  After some wise words of advice from Mr Wilson, I decided to apply for work experience with Lady Hermon. This turned out to be a fantastic decision and I enjoyed every minute of the week I spent working with her and her team.

     The week began in her constituency office on the Hamilton Road, Bangor, where I assisted her personal Assistants by sending out acknowledgement letters to various constituents who had got in touch with Lady Hermon over certain issues. Over the first two days I was also given the opportunity to read up on some individual cases which had been brought to the North Down MP’s attention in recent months. This was hugely enjoyable and gave me a greater insight into what an MP has to deal with on a daily basis in their constituency. This stood me in good stead should I succeed in my long term aim of becoming a Member of Parliament. 

     While I enjoyed the opening two days in the constituency immensely, I have never had a more valuable experience than the one I had on the Wednesday. Indeed this was the day I would visit Westminster. While in Westminster I would enjoy a tour of the buildings before being rushed to the Speaker’s procession and onto Prime Minister’s Questions. This gave me a great insight into the attributes needed to be a strong leader as well as providing me with first hand knowledge of what an MP does outside of their constituency and how they can represent constituents through questions asked directly to the Prime Minister. I finished my day at Westminster by observing the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee. This also provided me with experience as to what MPs face in Westminster away from the TV cameras and the hustle and bustle of Prime Minister’s Questions as well as how the people of Northern Ireland are represented in the mainland. 

     After returning home to Belfast late on that same evening, I somehow managed to get into the constituency office the next morning for my final day of Work experience. On this day I was visited by the Principal where we discussed my visit to London before I returned to the office to read press releases written by Lady Hermon from her election to Westminster in 2001 until now. Reading these releases gave me a greater understanding of the issues faced by MPs in their constituencies and beyond. When the clock struck four on that Thursday afternoon, I was bitterly disappointed that my work experience had come to an end.

     While I was sceptical about Work Experience beforehand and worried that it would not give me an informed opinion of working life, I was proven wrong. Indeed my week with Lady Hermon and her team has given me a greater understanding of the British political system and the work completed by MPs throughout the UK. As well as this, my Work Experience convinced me that a career in politics is something I would enjoy thoroughly. I would recommend it to anyone.