Joe participated in our 2023 CCHQ internship and worked within the Youth Engagement, CEO and Chairman’s, and Campaigning and Marketing teams. He recently graduated with a Law degree from the University of Bristol and was always fascinated by the policy/political elements of the degree, and has since begun working as a Communications Officer for an MP.

They say a week in politics is a long time, so I did a six-week internship!

Entering CCHQ for the first time, I was unsure about what to expect, the people I would meet and the work I would be undertaking. Would I fit in? Was politics a career path for me?

I had several goals I wanted to achieve through this internship: firstly, to learn more about the workings of the world of Westminster; secondly, to develop my organisational, communication, research, and problem-solving skills; and thirdly, to meet like-minded people.

These goals and my questions were all answered and met when I was given the privilege of organising the intern celebration in the Houses of Parliament. An event attended by Members of Parliament, CCHQ staff as well as interns, their families and other prominent figures who were integral to making this experience as amazing as it was.

So, the question is… how did I accomplish this task? And how did this answer my questions and help me achieve my goals?

My experience on the CCHQ internship

Beginning with weekly Patchwork sessions, I developed various soft skills, from how to network to how to debate and present myself professionally and effectively. These skills provided the foundation for organising such an event, giving me the ability to set out a plan and providing me with the confidence to undertake this task. Gemma, Niamh and the wider Patchwork team provided a constant presence to learn from, express doubts and laugh with.

I was given the opportunity to work within the CEO and Chairman’s team, a diverse group of people taking on a wide array of tasks ranging from correspondence to event planning and much more. This rotation provided me with the opportunity to learn how to reply to correspondences on behalf of the Party Chairman, tailoring how I wrote to reflect another’s own style. Working with Tanya, she showed me the intricacies and importance of choosing the correct wording and how phrasing can completely change how messaging can be construed. This was all supported by the opportunity to chair a meeting for Mark Fletcher MP, developing my research and public speaking capabilities while also learning about why he chose to get involved in politics and his views on what a good MP looks like.

These experiences helped me to understand that everyone in politics has a unique story, which has led us all to develop similar views. This helped to show that politics and the Conservative Party were a place open to anyone from any background.

Planning the celebration event

From this, Izzy was integral in showing me the ropes of how to secure space within the House of Commons and set out a catering menu and a guest list. Trying to establish who should be invited was an interesting task which involved providing all the interns with the opportunity to nominate those they had worked with to attend. In total, this resulted in a guest list of over 120 people and the challenge of extending invites to various people, from Members of Parliament to families and CCHQ staff.

Communication was key to planning this event, and I was given the opportunity to develop this skill through campaigning in the by-elections in Selby and Ainsty, and Uxbridge and South Ruislip. The highlight of the internship was talking to a man on the doorstep, unsure of whether to vote about his priorities and what he wanted from his MP; several minutes later, he was on the way to the polling station to support our candidate, Steve Tuckwell MP. Although this was only a single vote, I was deeply impacted by the idea that all the skills I had developed over the last few weeks had been used to not only benefit the party but also to convince someone to get involved in democracy. It showed that this internship had helped me to grow professionally into a more confident and knowledgeable person and gave me the confidence to apply such communication skills to a wider audience.

But why this internship?

I could not be more pleased about the experience I had at CCHQ, the people I met, the opportunities I was offered and the knowledge and skills I gained have all resulted in a deeper and more enthusiastic interest in a career in politics. I am grateful that this experience culminated in such a fantastic event, celebrating the success of this internship with such an amazing group of people.

The one piece of advice I can give to people considering this internship is… go for it!

Whether you want to go into politics, looking to develop communications, design, organisational skills or more, this internship is right for you. It provides the skills and experience to make you stand out in the crowd in any field. In my case, experience is not necessary; this is about getting more people involved in our democracy, building as individuals and acting as a springboard to reach your aspirations.

The experience I gained on this internship continues to transform my life and perspectives, and I hope it will for you too!