Last Updated: 18 October 2019
Created: 23 August 2019
As an MP I am passionate about getting young people engaged in politics, and providing opportunities to learn more about local and national politics – and the summer recess allows me to welcome work experience students from across Swindon to my office.
The young people spend a week shadowing my team and I to get a behind the scenes look at how a busy constituency office operates and how politics works at a national and local level.
My main priority is ensuring that those who join us get as much out of the experience as they can – so no mundane tasks such as filing or stapling! Instead, I prefer to offer tasks that allow them to experience some of the skills that working in politics entails, as well as tasks that actively help me with the work that I do to represent people in North Swindon. This allows them to make a meaningful contribution to the office, as well learning new skills.
As part of their work during the week I ask them to consider various issues in Swindon, in particular what the town has to offer young people - in turn their ideas are then fed on to Leader of the Council David Renard for his consideration. Similarly, I encourage them to look at ongoing campaigns I am working on and offer their thoughts, which I can then share with Ministers.
One of the trickier tasks I give them is to investigate and research a handful of Private Members Bills which have been put forward by other MPs. I ask them to consider the Bills, highlight potential problems and explain how it might support the work I do – as well as asking them to explain whether they would support the Bill. It is always interesting to hear the very different conclusions from the students, and I hope the task encourages them to think critically and gives them the confidence to form their own opinions.
They also have the opportunity to take part in more practical tasks such as joining me on visits, researching for upcoming meetings, or supporting real life casework.
I am always blown away by the enthusiasm of the young people I welcome to the office, and the varied ideas they bring with them. It is always heartening when they ask to come back – and I have even gone on to employ some of them.
Finally, I want to congratulate all the young people who recently received their GCSE and A-Level results, as well as their teachers and families who worked tirelessly to help them succeed.
I was very pleased to hear that the number of young people studying Science A-Levels has increased again this year, and that the number of girls studying science subjects has overtaken boys for the first time in history. The Government has been keen to increase girls’ participation in the sciences, and the number of girls taking science A Levels has increased by 26% since 2010 – with female students now making up 50.3 per cent of entries in biology, chemistry and physics at A-level.
I am delighted that more and more young people are choosing to study science, it will ensure that this generation will have the skills the county needs to be at the cutting edge of science, innovation and technology.