Work Shadowing at the Houses of Parliament
As part of my Year 12 programme I completed three days of work shadowing at Parliament. I aim to work in the civil service when I finish my A Levels, so I decided to write to my local MP, David Lidington, to see if I could gain an insight into the work they do in and around Westminster. I was invited to attend from 6th-8th March, and over the three days I was able to observe and be involved in many tasks, see various sides to the role of an MP, and how they oversee both local and government affairs.
I was given the opportunity to deal with constituent cases and see how involved MPs got with their individual constituents. I also managed to meet a number of MPs and observe their work at crucial stages in the legislative procedures. Managing to watch all the House sit as a committee to discuss and debate over Brexit I gained knowledge of the skills required, and the challenges facing them in their roles.
In addition to this, I met a few civil servants who work in Parliament, more specifically in the Cabinet Office, therefore, I saw the skills and work put in by the people who essentially run the show backstage, each civil servant having different roles depending on the office they work in. As I sat in the Chief Whip’s office, I saw how the system overlapped, and the high demanding nature of the job. It felt slightly surreal to walk into the offices of MPs like the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Chief Whip Gavin Williamson, (I also met Cronus, the Chief’s tarantula!).
I realised how much I have actually learnt, not just by participating in the job but by watching everyone around me, especially after seeing the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Commons, the Attorney General, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, etc. rushing to cast their vote for the Brexit Bill. Additionally, by sitting in Select Committee held by Crispin Blunt, I gained an understanding of Parliament’s control and scrutiny with them making inquiries which are public and may require a response from Parliament. This definitely gave me a valuable insight into Parliament and its’ role.
Ayesha Awan, Year 12