MP apprenticeships - where to start
You can get into this job through
- being elected by voters in the constituency you wish to represent
Most people show their commitment through campaigning and volunteering for their party.
You can get other useful experience from:
- serving as a local councillor
- being active in a trade union
- being involved in student politics
- working as a researcher or caseworker for an existing MP
You become a Member of Parliament (MP) by being elected in a by-election or general election. You can stand for election as a member of a political party or as an independent candidate.
Each political party has its own selection procedure. Normally, you must get the support of your party's nominating officer before you can become the prospective candidate.
As a candidate during an election, you'll be expected to campaign in public and online, attend meetings, make speeches and talk to the local media. You'll find it helpful to have some experience in one or more of these areas. You'll need a good understanding of local and national issues, and be up to date with current affairs.
The Houses of Parliament offer the following schemes to get involved:
- The Parliamentary Academy Scheme
- Speaker's Parliamentary Placement Scheme
- The House of Commons Apprenticeship Scheme
- House of Lords Apprenticeship Scheme
- Undergraduate Sandwich Student Placements
MP apprenticeships - what it takes
Skills and knowledge
- legal knowledge including court procedures and government regulations
- an understanding of society and culture
- excellent verbal communication skills
- analytical thinking skills
- active listening skills
- the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- persistence and determination
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
Restrictions and Requirements
You'll need to:
To stand for election, you'll need to be nominated by at least 10 electors from the constituency you wish to represent. You must also pay a £500 deposit. This is returned to you if you get more than 5% of the total votes cast in your constituency.
Certain people are not allowed to stand as an MP, for example someone convicted of electoral fraud.
- be over 18 years of age
- be a UK, Republic of Ireland or Commonwealth citizen
MP apprenticeships - what you'll do
You'll attend sessions in Parliament to:
Outside Parliament, you'll:
- vote on new laws and policies
- raise constituents’ concerns with relevant ministers
- debate issues and ask questions
- talk to businesses and schools about local, national and international issues
- speak to the media
- attend meetings and conferences
- hold surgeries and advice sessions in your constituency
Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding and you may spend nights away from home.
Career path and progression - MP apprenticeships
General elections are held every 5 years, so it can take some time to be elected MP.
With experience, you may get the opportunity to take on extra responsibilities like chairing committees and moving into more senior positions like party whip or even party leader.
If your political party is in power, you could go from junior minister to minister and then cabinet minister. If your party is in opposition, you could be a spokesperson on certain issues or have responsibilities in a shadow cabinet.