Today across the BBC, Democracy Day is marked with special programmes looking at democracy in the UK and across the globe. The 20th January 1265 is widely recognised as the day England's first parliament was held. This year also sees the General Election in the UK in May and therefore we are shining a light on the wide range of career opportunities in politics. One thing's for sure, a career in politics is unlikely to be dull. There are opportunities to be on the front line, working as a politician in Westminster or in local government; or you can work behind the scenes as an activist, administrator or adviser. A career in politics also offers scope to work overseas.
So how do you get started?
If you are at University, consider getting involved with the Student Union. There are opportunities to get involved with existing campaigns or run your own. Campaigns can range from supporting organ donation awareness on campus to pushing for a better transport system for students. You can also get involved with the many Clubs & Societies which provide opportunities to discuss all manner of topics and engage with other students who care about the same issues as you.
The range of roles within politics are varied, ranging from administration, research, campaigning to specialist roles such linguists working for the intelligence service. The best way to clarify the sorts of roles that might suit you is by gaining experience. With the general election round the corner, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer and get involved with local government in your area. Work for an MP has a wealth of information on getting experience in parliament. Internships in Brussels are advertised on EuroBrussels which also has a useful "Find a Job Guide".
Working in UK Government
There aren't as many opportunities for work experience / internships directly in Government departments and agencies; however a wide range of graduate careers do exist. The following are useful starting points:
Civil Service Careers: information on all opportunities in the Civil Service
Civil Service Fast Stream: for information on graduate entry for progress to senior positions
UK Parliament Jobs: listings of all parliamentary opportunities
National Graduate Development Programme: graduate opportunities in local government
Local Government Careers: the most comprehensive listing of local government jobs
Working in EU
Careers at the EU Institutions: a comprehensive guide to EU institutions and the wide range of opportunities.
Jobs in Brussels: a one stop-shop listing all EU affairs jobs on one portal
European Personnel Selection: for all jobs in the EU agencies.
There are also a number of graduate traineeships which include: The European Commission Traineeship and The European Economic & Social Committee Traineeship.
Various UK (and other national) government departments work in very internationally focused ways, most obviously the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development for example.
UN: a comprehensive website with employee profiles and job listings.
NATO: a number of opportunities aimed at postgraduate students working for NATO in Brussels.
This blog post only scratches the surface of the breadth of opportunities available in the sector. For more information please download this very helpful guide produced by one of the careers team. You may also want to re-visit our blog post on Careers in International Development.