The University of New England’s Parliamentary Internship Program offers curious students, with or without a political career in mind, the opportunity for hands-on work experience in the office of a NSW Member of Parliament.
This internship program runs twice a year, in Semester 1 and Semester 2, and UNE students from all disciplines who meet the criteria can apply for consideration in the selection process.
“Participating in the Parliamentary Internship Program was the most satisfying experience of my university life,” said Myee Gregory, a Bachelor of Communications student. “It was so exciting to have a speech I wrote delivered in Parliament and to play a major role in the creation of a Bill. The MP I was placed with – Peter Draper, the Member for Tamworth – was encouraging and supportive and gave me the opportunity to develop many new skills.”
“The magic thing about the internship was that it was such a great opportunity to put my academic learning into practice – and the skills and confidence I developed from the experience have opened a lot of doors. It has directly led to my getting a part-time job at SportUNE and winning a travel scholarship to the United Kingdom. There are so many different aspects to politics, and students of any discipline will get immense value from participating in the program.”
Katrina Carlon, a final-year Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Laws student, tells of a similarly rewarding experience. “Having been interested in politics from the age of about 10, I thought the program would be a perfect fit for me in terms of where I was aiming for my future career,” she said. “I have to admit I was extremely nervous the first day I met with my local MP and his staff. Since then I have learnt that politicians are just normal people who (despite some popular opinion) really just want to help the people of their electorate. The MP I was assigned to could not have been more helpful and supportive. During my time in and around the office I wrote media releases, attended public and official functions, wrote speeches, compiled an electorate mail-out, and sat in on interviews – among many other daily activities.”
The highlight of the internship for Ms Carlon was a trip to Parliament House in Sydney where she met other interns and politicians and observed Parliament in action. It was then that she “got that feeling that this is where I want to be when I finish university”.
“I recommend the Parliamentary Internship Program highly to anyone hoping to enter politics or government, or even thinking about these as a career option,” she said. “The opportunities and connections and experiences are simply invaluable. I now have some direction and career prospects, and have gained such a new outlook on the value of my UNE degree.”
More information on UNE’s Parliamentary Internship Program, and an application form, can be found at: http://blog.une.edu.au/unepip/. Applications for Semester 1, 2011, close this Friday (October 1) at 5 pm.
THE PHOTOGRAPH of Myee Gregory with Peter Draper MP displayed here expands to include the Speaker of the NSW Legislative Assembly and Member for Northern Tablelands, Richard Torbay.