On 9 November the Speaker welcomed the first intake of interns from the Speaker’s Parliamentary Placements Scheme into Parliament for the beginning of the nine month programme.
The cross-party scheme, pioneered by Hazel Blears MP, Eric Ollerenshaw MP and Jo Swinson MP, with support from the Speaker and the House of Commons Commission, provides individuals from lower-income and disadvantaged backgrounds with the opportunity to gain valuable paid work experience in Parliament.
The nine interns aged 20 to 55 are currently completing their induction week and had the opportunity to see Prime Ministers Questions before meeting the Speaker and participating MPs to discuss their impressions of Parliament thus far.
The Social Mobility Foundation who administered the application process of the scheme worked to encourage applicants from a diverse background through recruitment campaigns in JobCentres and local papers across the UK. Over 250 applications were received.
The Speaker welcomed the opportunity to meet the interns and said that he hoped this programme would grow in future years. He said:
"Parliament needs to be more open to everyone and if you’re interested in politics, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t have an opportunity to work here and go on to make a political difference, I hope this scheme helps many more people to do so."
The scheme which runs until July, places interns in an MP’s office 4 days per week, while the remaining day will be spent in a rotating placement with different departments across the House of Commons Service allowing participants to get a unique and worthwhile experience of how different offices in Parliament work together.
Image: Parliamentary copyright