CAREERS IN POLITICS
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CAREERS IN POLITICS Careers Advisory Service University of Kent at Canterbury The slides from this talk are at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/slides.htm WHAT CAREERS ARE THERE IN POLITICS? Civil Service? Er … ??? Spin doctor?? MP??? KENT GRADUATES WORKING IN POLITICS

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CAREERS IN POLITICS

Careers Advisory Service

University of Kent at Canterbury

The slides from this talk are at www.kent.ac.uk/careers/slides.htm


What careers are there in politics l.jpg
WHAT CAREERS ARE THERE IN POLITICS?

Civil Service?

Er … ???

Spin doctor??

MP???


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KENT GRADUATESWORKING IN POLITICS

A diplomat working on British/EU

legislative issues in Brussels

Assistant Democratic Services

Officer, District Council

Assistant Director

(partnerships)

Surrey County Council

GMB National Officer

Scottish

Executive

Development

Department

Organisational development officer, Manchester City Council

Director of Policy & Communications

Westminster City Council


What else do politics graduates do l.jpg

Oil trader

Film Editor

Freight Operations Manager

Librarian

Personnel Director

Solicitor

Housing Officer

Marketing Manager

Hotel Manager

Public Relations Executive

Bookseller

Prison Governor

Crime Analyst

Potter

Journalist

WHAT ELSE DO POLITICS GRADUATES DO?


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Why do employers recruit graduates?

  • Demonstrated ability to learn

  • Academically able

  • Self-motivated

  • Good all-rounders

  • Maturity

  • Achievers

  • Personal transferable skills

  • and perhaps - knowledge of their subject


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WHAT SKILLS HAVE YOU GAINED ON YOUR COURSE?

  • Communication skills

  • Gathering, investigating and assessing info

  • Organising material in a logical way

  • Condensing facts, ideas and arguments

  • Understanding of current affairs and issues


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TYPES OF WORK INVOLVING POLITICS

Usually involve one or (often) more of the following:

  • Administration

  • Research

  • Communication and persuasion


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TYPES OF WORK INVOLVING POLITICS

  • Administrative

    Civil Service:- Fast Stream; Mainstream

    House of Commons/Lords Clerk

    Local Government administrator

    Political party organiser


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TYPES OF WORK INVOLVING POLITICS

  • Research

    Civil Service research posts

    House of Commons Library Clerk

    Academic teaching and research

    MP’s researcher

    Party research departments

    Trades unions

    Think-tanks


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TYPES OF WORK INVOLVING POLITICS

  • Communication and persuasion

    Civil Service: Government Communication Network

    Political party agent

    Lobbyist

    Journalist


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OTHER TYPES OF WORK THAT MAY INVOLVE POLITICS

  • Event organising

  • Publishing

  • Market research

  • Web design

  • IT support

  • Charities/pressure groups


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THE CIVIL SERVICE FAST STREAM

The Work:

Assisting senior civil servants and

Ministers to formulate and

implement policy

Researching issues

Drafting memos and reports

Preparing replies to Parliamentary

questions

Providing administrative support to

working parties and committees


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HOUSE OF COMMONS/LORDS CLERKS

The Work:

  • Giving advice on the practice and procedure of the House to Members, Chairs of Committees and the Speaker

  • Taking divisions

  • Servicing Select Committees: organising their enquiries; travel with the Committee in the UK and abroad; helping prepare draft reports


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Entry requirements:

UK national

2.2 minimum (most entrants have 2.1) in any subject

Application and selection procedure:

Closing date early November 2009 for entry in Sept 2010

Applicants work through self-assessment exercises before they can access the online form

Online application and more tests

In-tray exercise at test centre

Fast-Stream Assessment Centre

FAST-STREAM ENTRY

Full details at www.faststream.gov.uk


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OTHER CIVIL SERVICE POSTS

  • Junior Managers(a.k.a. Executive Officers)

  • Involved chiefly with applying policy in practice

  • Middle-management role

  • Opportunities to move into Fast Stream

  • Departments and agencies recruit individually - vacancies onsites such as www.jobsgopublic.com and the Civil Service Recruitment Gateway

  • http://careers.civil-service.gov.uk


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LOCAL GOVERNMENT ADMINISTRATION

  • “ngdp” graduate programme

  • Training schemes run by individual local authorities (including KCC)

  • Many graduates enter local government at more junior grades to gain a foothold

  • Councils recruit individually, generally through local press/their own websites


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POLITICAL PARTY ORGANISER

  • Chiefly responsible for administration, PR and fundraising

  • Membership of the party and previous voluntary experience usually required


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RESEARCH POSTS

  • Civil Service Research Posts

    • only arise occasionally; may need PG degree

  • House of Commons Library Clerks …

    • are not librarians!

    • They provide an information and research service to MPs

    • Provide instant answers and prepare briefings

  • Academic research

    • combined with university teaching/admin

    • need higher degree


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RESEARCH POSTS

  • Political researchers

  • Work for:

  • Individual MPs/MEPs etc

  • Party research departments (where they exist!)

  • Trades unions

  • Think-tanks

  • Political consultancies


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RESEARCH POSTS

  • Political researchers: The Work

  • Involves:

  • Writing briefings, speeches,etc

  • Dealing with the public; press; other politicians; lobbyists

  • Drafting policy

  • Monitoring the media

“You need to be able to do a bit of everything … the atmosphere

in the office is very fast-moving. One minute I’ll be taking a call

from a national BBC journalist, the next talking to a single mother

who needs help sorting out her benefits.”


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RESEARCH POSTS

Political research - getting in and getting on

  • Often a first step to careers in other areas, e.g. lobbying or party agent …

  • .. but few researchers become MPs

  • Make speculative applications and gain work experience (usually voluntary)

  • Poor pay and limited career structure

  • Need a thick skin!


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INFORMATION/COMMUNICATION

Includes:

  • Public Affairs; Lobbying; Public Relations

    Employers include:

  • Specialised political consultancies

  • Public relations agencies

  • Businesses

  • Voluntary organisations

  • Government Communications Network


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INFORMATION/COMMUNICATION

The Work:

Maintaining an awareness, and a positive image, of your client to the public or to decision-makers and people of influence through:

  • Monitoring the press, Hansard, etc

  • Writing reports, press releases and briefings

  • Organising events and conferences

  • Handling enquiries from clients, the media, etc

  • “Relationship management”


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INFORMATION/COMMUNICATION

“My role is quite mixed. Part of my work involves formulating the charity’s public policy positions in response to government initiatives, so I write a lot of consultation responses, submissions to government and briefings for senior staff. I am also involved with making sure the charity's messages are in line with the latest research and views of people with suffering from the health condition our charity focuses on. This means that I carry out opinion research - including large-scale surveys and focus groups - and analyse the responses. I also work on particular projects that have policy implications”

Policy and information officer for a health charity


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INFORMATION/COMMUNICATION

Getting in and getting on

  • Voluntary work and voluntary organisations are the best source of early experience

  • Make speculative applications

  • Postgraduate degree can be helpful


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TYPES OF WORK INVOLVING POLITICS

  • Many jobs combine two or more of these elements

  • Common factor is a knowledge of/interest in politics

  • Most of them recruit from any degree subject ..

  • .. although an interest in and enthusiasm for politics will help

    But what else do they have in common?


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All will need goodCOMMUNICATION SKILLS -

putting over information verbally or in writing -

ANALYTICAL SKILLS- the ability to research and

assess information from a variety of sources -

DECISION MAKING SKILLS- weighing up evidence and arguments -PEOPLE SKILLS- especially the ability to persuade, negotiate with and listen to other people. You will need to be able to use your ownINITIATIVE, to be wellORGANISED, toPLANyour work and meet deadlines or work under pressure

These are skills which are equally valuable in a wide variety of other careers


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MAKING DECISIONS

  • “Choosing a Career” booklet and web pageswww.kent.ac.uk/careers/Choosing/ChoosingCareer.htm

  • Prospects Planner programwww.prospects.ac.uk/links/Pplanner

  • “I Want to Work in Politics”

    www.kent.ac.uk/careers/workin.htm

  • Look at job adverts and job descriptions

  • Talk to people about their work and how they got their jobs


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SHOULD I CONSIDER POSTGRADUATE STUDY?

  • Important if you want a career in political research or communication …

  • Essential if you want a teaching career (in schools or universities)

  • May be necessary (or useful) to enter some careers such as law, psychology, human resources, journalism, information work

  • It is possible to study Politics at postgraduate level with an undergraduate degree in another (related) subject


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FINDING OUT MORE: POSTGRADUATE STUDY

  • Use directories and websites such as:

    www.prospects.ac.uk/links/PGstudy

    www.postgrad.hobsons.com

  • Prospectuses for all UK universities in Careers Library

  • Careers Advisory Service website www.kent.ac.uk/careers/postgradmenu.htm

  • Apply ideally in first term of final year

  • No UCAS system – apply direct


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    THE END

    - of this talk, but not of

    your career planning!

    Use the Careers Advisory

    Service for advice and

    Information

    We are open 9am - 5pm, Monday – Friday throughout the year

    www.kent.ac.uk/careers


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