Government covers everything from your local council to your MP. You will need a good understanding of politics on a local, national and international level as well as topics such as economics, history and law. Some politics graduates pursue jobs in the public sector, while others work in business, marketing, political journalism, social research, for international organisations or not for profit organisations.
To study politics you will usually need 3 A levels (A- B) , 3-5 Highers or equivalent. After your degree you may go straight into employment, study for a higher degree, or take a vocational course such as journalism or accountancy. A lot of jobs in local government will accept a degree in any subject or equivalent experience.
You could volunteer in your local council, the constituency office, for a local party, during an election campaign, or in Parliament. You should be clear and realistic about how much time you can offer per week and think about whether you are offering to work for free, or if you need some remuneration. Consider getting involved with your student union, writing for the student newspaper or debating societies as well.
Normally a standard 35 - 37 hour week, Monday to Friday with some additional hours.
Pay scales vary depending whether you are working in London or elsewhere in the country and can be anywhere between£13,000 up to £38,000. MPs earn around £60,000 but cabinet ministers receive £136,400.
Jobs in local government will be advertised on the local council website, and often local and national press. Keep an eye on adverts for interns as some offer money. You could also write to any MPs you are interested in working for.
Graduate profile: Iago ap Steffan
1. What subject(s) did you graduate in and from where?
BA Welsh History and Politics at Prifysgol Aberystwyth University
2. What is your current job role? Please provide a brief description of your duties
I am an Administrator for a Plaid Cymru AM at the National Assembly for Wales. My duties include organizing files; writing to constituents, authorities and organizations; drafting questions for the First Minister and general administrator duties.
3. What skills, knowledge and qualities does your job require?
Team-working, organization, communication and IT. No previous knowledge is required, but knowledge of the Assembly, the Party and the AM is desirable. Punctuality, tidiness, manners and honest is a must.
4. What are the benefits of the degree/qualification(s) you studied for?
I can work in nearly any sector and any industry – whether it’s policy making or human resources; from teaching to civil service.
5. Are there any additional activities or work experience that helped you?
I have worked for the party on and off both as a volunteer and as an intern for the past three years. I undertook an internship with the university at the Assembly for another AM in 2010. I have been the President of a political society at university for two years.
6. Is there any other advice you would give to someone interested in working in a similar field?
Make sure that you put your head down to study and take up every opportunity that is thrown at you while at university and use your time wisely outside of university to network and look for placements.
7. How did you find your current job and what was the application process like?
It was on the NAW website. The process was not long-winded; the application form was simple to understand and the interview and test was not stressful and I felt relaxed.
8. What do you think are the main keys to success in your field?
Loyalty and effort; this always pays off. As long as you are loyal to the AM and you put in enough effort they and others will consider you for future vacancies.
9. What are your future career options?
I wish to carry on in the Assembly and at the same time run for the party I’m working for at the next county council elections. By the time my job expires in 2016 I wish to stand for the party at the Assembly elections.
10. How has being lesbian, gay or bisexual impacted your career, if at all?
I think the fact that the Assembly has a good reputation for equal opportunities has allowed me to have a chance to show what I can do. Though this is a job with an AM; I know that the AM and party are comfortable and welcoming to people from other communities.
11. How important was it that your university provided specific services/advice for you as an LGB student?
It was important that they provided services and advice; however…I did not feel that I needed to use them. The university had a thriving gay community and there was a friendly LGBT society (AberPride) on hand if I needed support from fellow students.