The scheme was originally conceived and championed by the Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP, the scheme is now being led by Dan Jarvis MP, with additional cross-party support provided by Victoria Prentis MP. The Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt. Hon. John Bercow MP, is a staunch supporter of the scheme.
Mr Jarvis, Parliamentary Champion for the Speaker’s Parliamentary Placement Scheme, said:
“As someone who didn't enter politics via a traditional route, I've always believed in the importance of opening up Parliament so that it looks, feels and sounds like the country it is there to serve. Extending the opportunity to work behind the scenes in the House of Commons is an important part of that process, and that is why I'm proud to be championing the Speaker's Parliamentary Scheme. It’s been a privilege to see the fantastic contribution that the Speaker’s Interns have made, and I would encourage anyone interested in gaining an experience of Parliament to apply for the Scheme in future.”
About the scheme
There are 10 positions available with MPs from different political parties. The Scheme is open to people from all walks of life and every nation and region in the UK. In previous years, successful candidates have ranged from school leavers, to those in their mid-50s, and they moved to London from many different parts of the UK.
Working in conjunction with The Creative Society, the scheme offers 10 paid internships to people from diverse backgrounds, and helps to make access to - and experience of - Parliament more representative of the UK population.
Successful applicants spend four days a week, Monday to Thursday, working in an MP’s office as a parliamentary assistant. This involves a variety of tasks from answering correspondence from constituents to taking minutes of Select Committee hearings. On Fridays interns are placed with one of the various departments of the House of Commons. This allows interns the chance to really get to grips with the workings of Parliament.
One of this year’s interns, Jen Davis, who is working with Alex Cunningham MP said:
“Being on the scheme has been a challenging but great experience for me. I have learnt and improved on skills that I can use in my professional and personal life.
I have been interested in politics since studying it at A level, but found it extremely difficult to get a job in Parliament as I lacked Parliamentary experience. The Speakers Parliamentary Placement Scheme has helped me get my foot in the door and has provided me with the confidence to pursue a career in politics.
If you are interested in politics I would encourage you to apply as the support and experience is invaluable.”
Since 2011 the scheme has gone from strength to strength and has become a fixture of Parliament. Thanks to their experiences as part of the Scheme many former participants have secured permanent jobs here in Parliament, while others have gone on to higher education or to work in various positions in the private sector.
How do I apply?
Applications for the eighth Cohort (2018-19) of the Speaker’s Parliamentary Placement Scheme will open in April 2018. Anyone who wishes to apply should email Diversity@parliament.uk expressing an interest. Further details will be sent out in due course.