Living a dream

RobNewbery - apprentice4x3.jpgRob Newbery reflects on his first few months as an apprentice on the Parliamentary Academy Scheme

Working in the building you’ve always wanted to work in and meeting your idol is always a huge and rather wonderful dream to have. But when the opportunity arises, sometimes luck is on your side.

It’s National Apprenticeship Week, and I’m two and half months into working in the Houses of Parliament, and more specifically the Labour whips office in the Lords as part of the Parliamentary Academy apprenticeship scheme. 

Watching The West Wing and other TV programmes about politics, I often thought how amazing it would be to work in Parliament. When I came in on my first day, walking through the main doors, I had a “wow!” moment. And there have been many more of these moments since. 

My first task was not the most glamorous, but it was important. Working as part of a team, I had to help create a filing system for a large cupboard filled with papers, cataloguing and cross-referencing them into a database for everything to be easily found. The job is now complete and I feel great satisfaction that I played a pivotal role.  

One of the more legislation-focused pieces of work I’ve worked on is the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, in particular the plan to abolish the Agricultural Wages Board. And I’m now starting to work on the upcoming Energy Bill – something I’m very excited about. But there are such a variety of things to do here, including working with colleagues to prepare for events in the House – and yes we all end up mucking in, setting things up and doing the washing up afterwards. But that’s life! 

One thing that I’ve had to understand very quickly is time management, as there are so many different jobs to do, some more urgent and more important than others. So I’ve been learning how to prioritise. And one day a week, I – and my apprentice colleague here, Anna Kuzan, attend college at Westminster Kingsway, where we’re doing an NVQ level 3 in Business Administration

Reflecting on the past few months, but also looking further back before the opportunity first arose, I can see how I’ve changed – and I’m quite stunned. I’m also so grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to meet and talk with someone I’ve admired for a very long time, Lord Robert Winston. But that’s another story...

Rob Newbery is on a year-long apprenticeship as part of the Parliamentary Academy scheme, and is working within the Labour Lords whips office 

Published 14th March 2013

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