Politics Internships 2024

Whether it’s working for your local MP, the Civil Service or a cross-party think tank that you’re interested in, a politics internship will take you far and wide. Read on to find out more about politics internships and where to find them.

Are you working towards a politics degree? Fancy yourself the next Prime Minister or Mayor of London? Good for you!

Smashing your degree is great, but these days having some real work experience on your CV is a sure-fire way to set you apart from tough competition. 

So whether it’s working for your local MP, the Civil Service or a cross-party think tank that you’re interested in, a politics internship will take you far and wide. 

Not only do they give you a flavour of what it's all about, politics internships teach you valuable skills that will help you excel in your career. 

Want to find out more? Our handy guide to politics internships has everything you need to know.

What do interns do in politics?

No two days are the same when you’re working in politics. While your responsibilities depend on your role and the department you’re based in, politics internships give you real-life experience working in the sector. 

Here’s an example of the sorts of things you could be doing:

  • Speaking with voters to learn about issues affecting their communities

  • Creating campaign materials for print, digital and social media

  • Planning events for political parties and assisting at conferences.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

If international relations is more your thing, you could intern at the Foreign Office too. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is responsible for protecting and promoting Britain’s interests around the world.

You’ll work in the British Embassy alongside diplomats and official visitors, organising meetings and booking venues, including travel and accommodation for guests. Or support the International Trade team in finding business opportunities for the UK in overseas markets.

So make sure you dust off those outfits. You never know who you’ll meet!

Want to know what one intern had to say about their time working at the Foreign Office?

""I thoroughly enjoyed my internship as it gave me invaluable experience that I cannot get anywhere else. I learnt a great deal about how the FCO works and it was very rewarding working in an establishment that is historically very significant and important.”" Intern, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

How do you get work experience in politics?

Politics is a diverse sector. So there isn’t a set way into the industry. However, getting work experience is definitely recommended in such a competitive sector.  After all, the more experience and skills you have, the greater your chances of landing your dream role.

Here’s a list of companies offering politics-related work experience:

  • Demos - As Britain’s cross-party think tank, Demos uses research to power innovation and champion democracy

  • Operation Black Vote - Giving those from ethnically diverse backgrounds the chance to work shadow MPs. Operation Black Vote’s mission is to promote racial justice and equality throughout the UK

  • Citizens Advice Bureau - Independent charity offering people free and confidential advice on how to resolve issues in their day-to-day lives, from debt to housing

  • Adam Smith Institute - UK-based think tank and neo-liberal lobbying group, using free market ideas to end global poverty and promote economic growth

  • Civitas - British think tank using thought-provoking research to inform public debate on issues related to social policy  

  • Henry Jackson Society - UK’s leading policy think tank, working across borders to combat radicalisation and totalitarianism 

  • YouGov - International data analytics and market research firm, supplying valuable insights to help governments and companies better understand and serve their communities

  • National Centre for Social Research - As the UK’s largest nonprofit social research organisation, NatCen uses a range of analytical techniques to gauge human behaviour and inform policy decisions that improve society.

  • BCP Council - As one of the UK’s newest local authorities, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council has big plans to support its residents. Its ambitious strategy sees the district powering a number of changes and innovations including: supporting the economy to boost investment and creating a greener, sustainable community for future generations.

Find out more about BCP’s big plan. Watch the video below.

Civil Service

The Civil Service is an impartial body (independent of the government) that helps to deliver legislated services to people all over the country.

These services include:

  • Paying benefits and pensions

  • Running employment services such as HMRC

  • Managing prisons

  • Processing driving licenses.

By getting onto the Summer Internship Programme (SIP), you’ll gain insight into a range of opportunities available at the Civil Service and could bag yourself a permanent role after finishing.

Here’s some examples of responsibilities you might have while on the scheme:

  • Investigating social trends and reporting on them

  • Helping the team to create policy documents

  • Shadowing senior civil servants and attending meetings to discuss major issues.

"“I developed a variety of transferable skills such as time management and sourcing my own work which will be useful for my future career. Furthermore, I enjoyed gaining insight into the Civil Service, which many people have never had access to. A particular highlight was attending a talk in the Secretary of State's private office, which meant we could have a tour around the place!”" Summer Diversity Intern, Civil Service

Finding a scheme that’s right for you can feel tough. Where do you start? 

Well, luckily for you, we’ve got you covered with our Best Student Employers table. They’re based on thousands of reviews all written by former interns (who were in your shoes).

View Best Student Employers

Can I intern for an MP?

Yes you absolutely can! Everyone starts somewhere and shadowing an MP is a great way to understand the day-to-day responsibilities.

As an intern, you’ll be based at the MP’s constituency office, carrying out administrative tasks such as filing, answering emails from people in your community and working on spreadsheets. 

But that’s not all. You could have a hands-on role too, for example analysing media coverage to understand people’s concerns on issues like housing, immigration and the cost of living, assisting at local events, or going on the campaign trail. 

The most important role of an MP is to win constituents’ votes in elections. So your job will be to play brand ambassador, increasing public trust and confidence in your MP, ensuring they remain a credible figure in parliament.  

What skills do I need?

Working in politics can be demanding. So you’ll need a strong and well-rounded skill set to smash your role. These include:

  • A strong understanding of political systems and parties

  • Awareness of political issues, both in the UK and overseas

  • Public speaking and debating 

  • Ability to deal with stressful situations

  • Highly organised with a flair for multitasking.

How do I apply? 

Politics internships come in all shapes and sizes, with lots of them surging through word of mouth. However, if you’re interested in working for your local MP, go ahead and send them your application. You can find a full list of names and email addresses on the UK Parliament website.

Here’s how to show you’re a strong candidate:

  • You're passionate - Let them know why you want to intern for them specifically. Maybe you feel connected to their mission and policies and want to make a difference in a particular area. In which case, voice it. Talk about causes that are close to your heart and how you intend to bring about change

  • Work experience examples - If you stood at a student election and were voted president of a club or society at your university, mention it on your CV. Employers love candidates who go the extra mile as it shows proactivity and leadership, which is what politics is all about

  • In the know - Maybe you’ve written an opinion piece recently for an online paper like Redaction Politics. Or run a politics-based blog or vlog sharing your political views. Keeping up with current affairs shows your passion, demonstrating to employers that you mean business. And are in it to win it.

Want to know what politics internships are all about? Read over 70,000 student reviews to get the highs and lows of a company. And find your perfect match.

How much do politics interns make?

The average annual wage for an intern in the UK is currently £22,000

While your salary depends on your employer and programme, politics internships pay you the National Minimum Wage. This is the minimum hourly wage reserved for all employees, which tends to increase at the beginning of each tax year in April.

Politics internships are hugely rewarding. You’ll meet people from all walks of life. Have a say in issues affecting your community and the country as a whole. And propose solutions that could change - and save - the lives of millions. 

So what are you waiting for? Kick-start your career in politics TODAY.

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