My name is Imogen and I work in Sadiq’s Westminster office as a Parliamentary Apprentice.
I started working here last October after completing my final year at Graveney School sixth Form, a school in Sadiq’s Tooting constituency. There were a lot of options open to me at that time - I could have applied to university or further education, or I could have scrambled for the last of the pub and cafe jobs in my local area that many of my friends had already snapped up. I sat around considering my options until my Mum suggested I look for work in the field of politics, which I had always been interested in.
Typically, I ignored her for as long as I could. With so few jobs around anyway, who was going to employ me over older, more experienced graduates? But I needed to show her that I had at least tried, so I googled ‘jobs with MPs’ and came across the Parliamentary Apprentice website. I saw the job with Sadiq and it seemed perfect! I could study while earning and work in an interesting environment. The hours were perfect and I didn’t need a degree.
I applied for the job and was called in for an interview in Westminster, where I met Sadiq and some of my now-colleagues. A week later I had a call to say I had got the job. I was nervous to start and wasn’t quite sure what to expect- as an apprentice, I should technically have been learning on the job but I knew it was more likely that I would be grabbing coffees and spending my days in the photocopying room.
Thankfully, it hasn’t been like that at all. In fact, more often than not, Mark in the office is getting me coffee! Each day is different and I genuinely look forward to coming to work. On Mondays, I travel to Sadiq’s advice surgery to help out constituents before they speak to the MP, on other days I help Sadiq with casework from his constituents or liaise with the people who contact Sadiq to attend meetings, events and talks in his Tooting, Justice and London roles. Often, I will go to watch Sadiq speak in the House of Commons at Justice Questions or Deputy Prime Ministers Questions, and in March I have been invited to meet with the Prime Minister and some other Parliamentary Apprentices.
For me, the biggest thing is how much I enjoy working here. But I also know that when my apprenticeship ends at the end of this year, I’ll leave with better skills and more experience then I could have got anywhere else - let alone more money! Instead of getting me to do run of the mill jobs, Sadiq and his office have taken the time to explain to me how to tackle complex issues, how to write professionally and how to keep people happy yet ensure you represent what you stand for. Already, working here had been invaluable for my future prospects and my confidence, so I can’t wait for what will come from the rest of the year!
Imogen Cahill, 19 years old
Imogen Cahill has been Sadiq’s Parliamentary Apprentice since October 2013. A former Graveney School student, she will be working in Sadiq’s office for a period of one year. To find out more about the ‘Parliamentary Academy’ scheme click here.