Work experience on the front lines of elected government!

Three Kent students were lucky enough to be Rewarded with work experience within the governance and democracy team at Kent County Council this summer. We caught up with one of the students – final year History and Politics student Meg Payne – to get the lowdown on her time with them.

Kent County Council is one of the largest local authorities in England, serving a population of over 1.5 million people, and with a workforce of around 7,500 employees (excluding the 10,000 staff in Kent schools). The size of the council and the breadth of the services that it offers means that for any Kent students hoping to get an insight into working in the public sector, a placement with them really is the perfect opportunity! This placement itself was within the team of officers who support the elected members of the council, within the Governance, Law and Democracy Directorate. As a History and Politics student keen to get into local government, Meg was thrilled to be offered the work experience placement, and ‘see what [she] had studied enacted in real life, and the variety of jobs available in my preferred career field’!

Meg thoroughly enjoyed the variety of activities she completed whilst at the council, from attending cabinet and committee meetings, to speaking to different officers and members about their roles. Her main project was to produce and present a report on the diversity of Members in Kent County Council and the voter engagement in the 2021 elections. With the outcome of this research, she then made recommendations to the council on how they could seek to improve both aspects for the upcoming 2025 elections. Meg found ‘conducting [her] first piece of non-academic research outside of university challenging, but was able to utilise and refine skills [she] had gained at university, and develop new ones in this new environment.’

Ryan Thomas, Support Officer to the Leader of the Opposition, was working with the students whilst they were undertaking their placements, and was full of praise for them:

‘They had a genuine and meaningful impact on our team. They settled in very quickly and everyone was pleased to have been able to work with them over the course of the two weeks. The reports which they worked on will be used going forward and will help us to drive change across the organisation.’

Thank you to Ryan and the team for supporting students on the scheme this year!

Meg was certainly pleased that she found out about EP and got involved, to land this amazing opportunity. To others, she recommends:

‘Definitely do it – the application/interview process is great experience even if you aren’t successful, and if you are, the opportunities are so great for your CV, skills and understanding yourself and future career path better!’

We would certainly take her word for it! Sign up now to earn your points and apply for fantastic experiences next year!

Interested in this opportunity? Find out more about Kent County Council on their website.