The first day of my internship summarises the type of events that were to follow. My first task was to call First Minister’s office and then attend a meeting with the UK Government on a major business conference. Welcome to the Scottish Government.
For anyone that thinks an intern just makes coffee, then think again. An internship with the Scottish Government is extremely hands on. You’re definitely not left to photocopy or staple. You’re a key member of a diverse and dynamic team. You’re responsible for inviting speakers to key sectoral events. You contribute to Minister speeches. You organise trips for architects to come from the Nordics to Scotland through Nordic Horizons. You liaise with Canadian officials in Scottish Cities Alliance research. You produce papers to be circulated to the heads of Local Authorities. You will be involved in the Ryder Cup. You may even share a car with the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth!
So far in my internship I have seen more of Scotland than I have in 23 years. In the space of 6 weeks I have been to Montrose, Perth, Dundee, Edinburgh on a weekly basis, and even down Argyle Street to Europa House.
Whilst this may seem exciting to some, it may be very daunting to others, but support is always available. Despite the high level of responsibility placed on me, I know I only have to ask if I’m unsure of anything. My line manager is always there for advice and I have definitely caught some her contagious enthusiasm for our work. Not only this, but the rest of the team continually offer their support. There are also a wide range of training sessions available to staff. For example, I attended a speech-writing course with the First Minister’s speechwriter. I’m using the range of skills I have picked up in academic and working life, but everyday I’m also learning new skills. These will be invaluable to future employment.
I was fortunate enough to attend two events in the one day that Mr Swinney was speaking at. The first involved a trip to Montrose (to my shame, I didn’t even know where Montrose was when I agreed to this!), where the Cabinet Secretary was speaking at a Scotland’s Future Public Q&A event. I witnessed real public engagement between the Cabinet Secretary and the audience and I also benefited from being in a public facing role, dealing with some interesting locals. As soon as I had helped the Strategy Unit pack up I was led to the Ministerial car and we were bound for Perth for the launch of Perth’s Food & Drink Park that was closing the A Scotland’s Cities Global Excellence Conference: Going Places with Scotland’s Food & Drink Industry, that my line manager was the lead on.
It was a unique opportunity to experience what it is like working in Private Office and the range of events that Ministers are invited to be part of all in the one day. And I would say that this highlights one of the best parts of this internship: opportunity. The opportunities available to interns at the Scottish Government are vast if you are able to pursue them.
Therefore, I must stress that this was the highlight of my internship so far. With the Commonwealth Games fast approaching and a major Commonwealth Business Conference that I’m involved in due to take place on the eve of the Games, I expect there will be many more interesting engagements and opportunities ahead.
For many reasons, 2014 is a busy and exciting year for the Scottish Government. I feel extremely lucky that I can play a part in this and work to ensure that the benefits of this year will be felt for years to come.
Adopt an Intern Alumni
Commonwealth Games Business Legacy Intern, The Scottish Government