Rohan Bhogal, a pupil at Isaac Newton Academy in Ilford South, has written the following blog detailing his work experience in the office of Mike Gapes MP. You can read Rohan’s blog below!
During my first day, I was able to experience life inside a constituency office. This was definitely a new experience to me as it was the first time I had taken a position in an office. Due to it being new to me, this allowed me to learn new skills, as well as actually furthering my knowledge of politics in certain ways. I was shown a very interesting website known as the parliamentary research service. This was good to thoroughly read as it had many documents and policies about the “goings on” in the UK and politics today. Looking at the tasks I had done on my first day, I had learnt how to update Mike Gapes’ official website by adding in policy statements such as rendition and torture, and the childcare voucher scheme, both of which came from the parliamentary research service. Furthermore, I filed my first piece of case-work on a constituent. Although I did not complete a massive amount of work, I still learnt a lot from a very new experience and was interested in learning more.
On my second day, I had more work to do which was surprisingly not that bad. One task I completed was publicising a Holocaust Educational Trust Project’ to all secondary schools within the Ilford south area. This meant sending individual letters to all 10 schools promoting the project. I also did some more casework. I was able to contact Redbridge Council’s Environmental team to help find a solution to the matter. Overall, I found myself doing work throughout the day making it quite productive. I found that I enjoyed working on casework and I felt that it was very interesting to see what kind of issues people are having in the area and what can be done to help. Although I had not done a lot of casework yet, I found it somewhat enjoyable to do.
On my third day I continued to work on case-work. The first task I completed was notifying a constituent about replies we had received on her current housing situation. In addition to this, I also learnt how to upload videos onto the Mike Gapes’ official website. I used parliamentlive.tv to find clips of Mike speaking in Parliament from Tuesday 24th of July and also used youtube to format the video so that it can be embedded and uploaded onto his website. Overall, today I mainly spent the time completing casework and writing letters to people either informing them of replies we had received or letting them know that we are waiting for replies. At the end of the day, I was also able to meet Mike Gapes which was great.
On my fourth day, I started the morning off by prepping questions to ask Mike for his Facebook Q&A. I used a combination of questions I’ve wanted to ask him as well as questions I had found from the internet that have been answered by other politicians. I came up with a total of 9 questions ranging from the greatest moment in his career as a politician to if he thinks the public sector deserves a pay rise. When it came to the filming of the Q&A, it was good. It was also nice to get an insight into Mike’s ideas and it was great to hear his answers to my questions. You can view the interaction here. After I had done this, I wrote up letters, hand-written by Mike, to send to his constituents which were interesting to read. Overall, my fourth day was pretty good.
On my last day, I spent it doing casework and writing letters to the constituents of Ilford South. Letters consisted mainly of notifying constituents. As a whole my last day went well. I was able to reflect upon my time here in Mike Gapes’ constituency office and I can say that I definitely had a good time and learnt a lot. I’m also very thankful to Sam and Rob (Mike’s staff) for helping me and teaching me a lot during my time here. My main reason for wanting to do work experience here was because I wanted to see what it was like “behind the scenes” in Politics. Usually everyone only ever hears about what goes on in parliament but, not what goes on within a constituency/constituency office. After this week, I have understood what being an MP and what working for an MP is like. Therefore, overall I feel very accomplished.
By Rohan Bhogal – Student at Isaac Newton Academy