Jovial January: Launch of Campaign and Apprenticeship Awareness

UK_Parliament30th January 2012

Apprentice Blogger, Alice Hannam has reached the 3 month mark of her apprenticeship, she talks about her new experiences, and urges every MP to take on an apprentice!

Having been back in the office a mere total of 3 weeks after Christmas, it seems like a lot longer. On the first day back I  met Liz, the new office researcher who is lovely and we get on really well. It has been a busy month with constituents’  queries, campaigns, press releases and organization of the diary. No wonder Mike bought us our very own kettle!  Although we feel guilty to disappoint him as none of us drink tea or coffee: we’re a hot chocolate office!

Mike has me working on a campaign which will be launched in late February/March. He mentioned I may be able to  go to Edinburgh in March/April; it would be a great opportunity to visit the city I’ve heard so much about and make t  the campaign successful. All will be revealed in March. Last week I got to sit in on PMQ’s with a ticket to the gallery. It  was really good to see it live, and I thought some MPs came across stronger in real life compared with on TV. Whilst enjoying the political life in the office it has also been good to socialise with other researchers and interns. One evening Liz, Deborah and I went to the “Liberal Democrat Intern Drinks” in the Sports Social bar. Here I got to meet some interesting people, including a previous intern for Lembit Opik and some American students who are here as part of their university courses.

Meanwhile I have been working hard with my NVQ and enjoying our sessions together on a Thursday with the other apprentices. We have been covering Employment Rights and Responsibilities amongst various other topics. Rachel came up with the idea of “cake baking” so this provides us with some entertainment of sussing out the best and worst cooks!

It seems to me that January is the month to tackle the issue of apprenticeships. The media has the topic covered; various schemes and campaigns are being launched to deal with unpaid internships and the PAcademy is holding an event to raise awareness to MPs. This coincides nicely with Apprenticeship week commencing on the 6th February until the 11th.  I have sent emails to each MP inviting them personally to the PAcademy event; out of 650 MPs I have only received a handful of responses. Whilst the majority of MPs are supportive of the idea, only a minority are acting on the principle. I urge Parliamentarians and their staff to attend on the 1st of February even if it’s just to become informed.

Robert Halfon MP for Harlow who helped set up the Academy has been really helpful; we got the chance to meet him and have an interview for the FE Weekly magazine. An admirable man and great to know he is behind us and the scheme.

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