Getting involved in politics can help your career – no matter what path you’ve chosen, writes George Webster, a member of the youth-led Model Westminster
A few years ago I joined a group of other young people at the Department of Education. We discussed how membership of the European Union was affecting young people, our education system and vocational training. The event was run by a youth-led political organisation, Model Westminster, and after that first debate, I knew it was something I wanted to be part of.
Since then, I’ve had the chance to attend lots of other events. I’ve gone to the Houses of Parliament to learn about the UK constitution, and whether we should have a written one like they do in the US. Model Westminster has given me the chance to meet Members of Parliament, as well as other like-minded young people to debate the issues that really affect young people across the country. I’ve also been able to join Model Westminster’s Youth Advisory Board to help decide the future of the organisation.
Political engagement can really open your mind to a whole new way of thinking; you’ll meet new people and get experience in what it’s like to make decisions that affect a large group of people. No matter what job you’re thinking about, getting involved in politics can be a big advantage in whatever career path you’d like to pursue.
How can I get involved?
There’s so much you can do if you’re interested in getting involved in politics; it’s not as terrifying as running to be an MP!
- School council: You could join your school council, exploring the problems that students are facing in your school and how can you work to change them.
- Local council: Perhaps you want to set your sights a little bigger: why not volunteer with your local council? You could get to know more about the people who live in your area (the constituency) and the problems they face.
- Youth Parliament: If you’re the sort of person with big dreams who wants to learn as much as possible, you could even run to become your local area’s member of youth parliament (MYP). You would get the chance to help solve the problems young people face in parliament… the same place where all the MPs hang out!
- Model Westminster: Or you could get involved with Model Westminster, of course. The organisation focuses on giving an educational introduction to the policy-making process by encouraging participants to explore how society’s biggest challenges are solved. We’re always looking for people to join us!
How can it help me at work?
There are plenty of different ways that politics can help you in your career. Getting involved in politics can help you show employers that you have a range of different skills. By developing these employability skills, you’ll improve your chances of getting a job and thriving in your career.
Not only will you learn about the problems that people face in your school or town, you will get a chance to meet loads of new people and try things that you wouldn’t have thought of before. Developing political skills will help you to deal well with changing situations, thinking on your feet and coming up with solutions to problems. These adaptability skills are highly prized by employers.
When it comes to applying for jobs, it’s important that you have something that makes you stand out from everyone else. If you’ve been involved with your school council or have been a member of youth parliament, your application will stand out for all the right reasons. Then when you’re in an interview, you’ll have something really cool to talk about with your interviewer.
For example, during my first event at Model Westminster, we wrote a report on the EU’s impact on young people which offered our policy solutions. Now when I apply for jobs I can use this document to show potential employers what I helped to achieve that day.
Networking is what we call meeting lots of new people professionally. Sometimes people you meet at one event will invite you to other new and exciting events. The ability to interact with people, express your views articulately, and actively listen to others’ points of views are skills that employers will look for.
People skills are what we call skills that allow people to work really well together in groups. Getting stuck into politics can help with a range of people skills, such as interpersonal skills (speaking to people individually), group presentations, discussing ideas (debating) and working in groups.
Developing this wide range of skills will help you stand out to employers as well as succeed in the workplace – no matter what job you end up doing.
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courtesy George Webster