Thanks to Careers Information Adviser June Maguire for this focus on an area we’re often asked about.
Policy work is a popular career area, open to graduates from a range of disciplines. Entry is competitive, so it’s important to gain as much relevant work experience as possible while you’re studying here. The good news is, you’re living in a great city, home to major employers such as the Scottish Government, the Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh City Council and COSLA, as well as social policy think-tanks, public policy and political strategy consultancies, and news agencies such as News Direct. You can look for opportunities in areas that match your interests as well as your skills and experience, e.g. Education Policy, Science Policy, Social Policy.
Think-tanks offering internship and work experience opportunities include: the Centre for Scottish Public Policy, Reform Scotland and Scotland’s Future Forum. The student-led think-tank, the Buchanan Institute, offers opportunities for students to get involved in events and activities, researching and writing policy proposals and a lot more.
Working for a political party, or an MP/MSP whose research interests you share, can be a great way to learn about how governments and politics work, to develop your knowledge of the issues, and hone your research, writing and networking skills.
If you can’t see anything to apply for, remember that many students create their own opportunities by identifying the employers they’re most interested in working for and making speculative applications. Use the occupational information on our website, and read the feedback from policy work professionals on MyCareerHub, to find out more about roles and potential employers. Other relevant sectors you may want to investigate include Charity and Development Work, Research Services and International Relations.