Case Study: Alexander Pearson
Internship: Leeds City Council
I will admit that before I took up my placement I knew little about local government, being under the illusion that everything significant came from the dark corridors of Westminster. My internship at Leeds City Council changed this. Over the three weeks I was there I gained much in the way of how the day to day running of local government worked and how important its decisions were to the everyday lives of the people it served. Not only did it provide me with the know-how but it also taught me important skills that prove extremely useful in many other working environments inside and outside of the public sector.
I was assigned to the Labour Group Office which proved an invaluable experience due to the fact that the Labour Group held administration within the Council. As a result of this my work was mainly centred on ‘cabinet’ councillors whose different portfolio’s had to deal everyday with the different issues facing the Leeds area. This ranged from economic to healthcare to environmental issues and so this large array of policy areas demanded a flexible and multi-skilled professional body to aid and process the work and obligations of the administration. This ensured that I had wide ranging responsibilities; including speech writing, press releases and political research, all of which would eventually be presented and used by many different Labour councillors.
The fact that my internship culminated with the meeting of full Council was especially satisfying as much of my work was used either directly or indirectly in the debates and speeches given by Labour councillors. Indeed the knowledge beforehand that my work would eventually be used in such a setting gave me the extra motivation to be proactive as my work was not merely for my own benefit but that of Leeds City Council as well.
Overall I would actively support anyone else who has the chance to take up such an opportunity. At University we rarely if ever get an opportunity to see the theory in action; real experience. Working in such an environment will give you this insight and experience which in turn will aid you in whatever future endeavour you may have.