Amelia Quinn | August 2014 - July 2015
For anyone wanting a very different, educational experience I cannot recommend the internship in Tynwald Parliament more.
Based in the Chamber and Information Service at the Office of the Clerk of Tynwald I was exposed to most parliamentary day-to-day functions. Within this small team I not only made good friends but was able to learn the importance of research, the importance of a verified source and hone my skills in communicating research succinctly and effectively.
I was fortunate enough to be offered the opportunity to work very closely with the Deputy Clerk of Tynwald, Jonathan King, because he volunteered himself as my mentor. His role as Deputy Clerk gave me an opportunity early on to get involved with creating a PowerPoint presentation for the British Irish Parliamentary Association. This task in itself led me to understanding the position of the Isle of Man economically and politically in comparison to other jurisdictions. Mr King is also the Social Affairs Policy Review Committee Clerk which enabled me to become involved with the Committee. This role with the Committee presented an opportunity to write some of the Committee's latest report, as well as take its minutes, correspond on its behalf and sometimes - on the odd occasion - say something constructive during meetings. Exposure such as this to a scrutiny committee of any parliament was always going to be interesting, topical and present controversial topics. My experience lived up to that expectation and I would posit that it was perhaps my favourite experience during my year as parliamentary intern.
Before embarking on my year I had certain ambitions about my role as parliamentary intern; I was sure that I wanted to be exposed - in whatever way possible-to as many departments of government to witness their relationship with parliament. I am pleased to report that I managed to second from my office in the Library, albeit approximately 200 metres......
I made the Attorney General's Chambers followed by the Cabinet Office my base for April. During my time in the Attorney General's Chambers I was assigned a project to create a report which could be used as a basis for a business plan to update their current programming system for creating legislation. This experience was valuable for my business management awareness as well as developing some IT knowledge - something completely outside my comfort zone. As with my time in the Cabinet Office the experience of working within a different team is always insightful, especially as I have never had an office job before.
My time in the Cabinet Office was with the Freedom of Information team working towards the onset of the Freedom of Information Act on government departments. I felt at homeworking with the law and the guidance for the law to create precedents for departments replying to freedom of information requests. I also did a lot of research into the types of freedom of information requests received by other jurisdiction departments. I am interested to see how freedom of information will affect the Island, how departments will cope and whether it will affect me at all in my aspired career as a Manx Advocate.
My team of co-workers kept me busy during other times with administrative duties, public tours of the Chambers as well as research for Committees and members. I have been involved with a WW1Twitter campaign #1ooyearsagotoday which looked back upon Tynwald Parliament and what it was doing during WW1. I have also done a lot of research into the 150th anniversary of popular elections to the House of Keys in preparation for the celebration to come.
I did take it upon myself, having realised how interesting Manx politics actually was and how uneducated I was, to educate others and was able to give a Manx politics seminar to sixth formers at King William's College. I leave my position with full confidence that my input to the parliamentary intern role in the Office of the Clerk of Tynwald will see more young people in schools educated on Manx politics. The importance and uniqueness of our parliament on the Isle of Man is something which is underemphasised and underappreciated.
Whilst having walked into the role as parliamentary intern thinking I knew something about Manx politics I realise how little I knew, how much I know now and how grateful I am for the experience.