Find out what our interns and host MSPs have to say about our Parliamentary Internship Programme.

2019 Parliamentary Intern

“Parliamentary internships typically seem either unpaid and out of reach unless there is existing involvement in a political party – the John Smith Centre Internship removes that barrier completely and ensures that its interns are well compensated.”

Iyan Babar, 2022 Parliamentary Intern

A life-changing experience that has given me research and public policy experience from the best of Scotland’s political landscape. I feel special that such an opportunity came into my life that has motivated me forever to undertake public service and carry on the legacy of John Smith.

2017 Parliamentary Intern

“The internships are giving people who have the ability but not the contacts to explore the opportunities they may have been interested in but unable to do. It has opened up a whole world of opportunity.”

Office of Jackie Baillie MSP

“I would have no hesitation in recommending the internship to other MSPs. After two experiences with the programme, I am confident that the interns would make a great asset to any office.”

2019 Parliamentary Intern

An extremely rewarding and interesting few months, I would definitely recommend to others to apply in the future. I have had the opportunity to go places and experience things which I had never really considered possible while I was still a student

Office of Humza Yousaf MSP

“Our experience has been overwhelmingly positive – all three interns we have taken on have been enthusiastic and produced an incredibly high standard of work.”

2019 Parliamentary Intern

“The John Smith Centre Internship is the first time since I have come to University that I have been able to find genuinely worthwhile, meaningful and career-relevant work that also paid a fair wage, and I am enormously grateful for the opportunity to have been an intern with you.”

Office of Nicola Sturgeon MSP

“The John Smith Centre Parliamentary Internship Programme offers interns the opportunity to see representative democracy at the sharp end, and also allows a parliamentary office to benefit from the insight and skills of a senior student. It is very beneficial for all concerned.”

Cameron Eadie

“Originally, I was attracted to the John Smith Centre’s mission to open up politics to people who have often felt left behind and to have us all view democracy as a viable means of bettering our lives. I arrived at the internship hoping that, if anything, I could push myself a little beyond my comfort zone and gain some interesting talking points to bring up in future interviews. It is safe to say I got both and so much more!

I began work with Humza Yousaf MSP and his phenomenal constituency office, gaining insight into serving constituents and learning invaluable knowledge of the role of Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care. With that I was already thrilled… then I had the once-in-a-vicennial chance to witness first-hand a Scottish National Party leadership campaign. After a successful campaign, which I had the chance to get involved with in my spare time, I benefitted from the unique opportunity to shadow the First Minister, gaining unprecedented access to the top of Scotland’s political system.

I cannot possibly adequately express my thanks to the John Smith Centre, my host MSP and the constituency team for all coming together to offer me this huge hand-up in my career development.”

Eilidh Simmers

“My experience as a John Smith Centre intern has been an eye-opening experience. I have learnt about the way public service in Scotland delivers for our people.

During the internship, I helped with the drafting of briefings, motions and other communications for my MSP and worked both in the constituency office and in Parliament, learning from his team about their involvement in public service. In doing so, I also learned the value of holding those in positions of responsibility to account – a key part of our democracy!

I have made many friends along the way, especially with the other interns and those in my office which has given me a broader network of likeminded people!

It is amazing to think of how much I’ve learnt in the last 10 weeks! Without a doubt this experience has inspired me to pursue a career in public service.”

Sherzah Jamal

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time as a John Smith Centre Parliamentary intern. Being a medical student with no previous experience in the political sector it was eye opening to see the work that MSPs and their office staff do on a daily basis. I was welcomed openly into the team from day 1 and supported throughout.

During my internship I had the opportunity to complete several tasks such as gathering research, writing briefs, constructing blog posts and completing case work. I also had the opportunity to accompany my MSP into parliament and understand that side to her role. This internship not only expanded my knowledge in a foreign yet crucial subject which will undoubtedly aid me in my future career, but it also allowed me to expand my skillset. I learned to present my ideas and communicate appropriately through both verbal and written communications in this new professional setting as well as developing my team working ability to work with individuals from a variety of backgrounds and expertise. This allowed me to learn a lot from my peers and co-workers, allowing for crucial personal and professional development.

This experience was an invaluable stepping stone to my future career. After being inspired by the work I have seen in parliament and at the constituency office, I hope to incorporate aspects of policy making into my future career.”

Lewis O'Neill

“As a 4th year economics student at the University of Glasgow, I had the privilege of working with Ross Greer MSP through the John Smith Centre’s parliamentary internship programme. I have always been interested in the way that economic research feeds through to decision-making in politics, and this internship provided me with the insightful opportunity to observe this process first hand and improve my skills in communicating economic ideas to different audiences.

The staff at the John Smith Centre did an excellent job of matching me with the right MSP office. Working in parliament alongside the Scottish Greens parliamentary group with colleagues from a range of policy areas and responsibilities, I learned a lot about how the party makes communication and policy decisions day-to-day based on rapidly changing media narratives. It was fascinating to observe the party’s role both as a partner and scrutiniser of government, and to see how MSPs interact with their communities. Ross Greer was a great mentor, giving me plenty of space to focus on the policy areas I am most interested in while providing valuable advice and guidance. I decided to focus on the issue of council tax reform and through my research and analysis, I hope to expedite the case for reform.

Overall, I would strongly recommend any student interested in policymaking, public service, or communications to apply for the John Smith Centre parliamentary internship.”

Helen Ross

“My experience as a John Smith Centre intern has been quite genuinely life changing. I have gained exposure to a world of work that I have always found fascinating – but otherwise would not have had the courage nor the opportunity to access.

During the internship, I had the experiences of helping my constituents, working in parliament, and of learning directly from an elected representative about their own pathway into politics. In doing so, I also learned the value of advocating for those who do not have the platform to advocate for themselves – something that can only be achieved when we demonstrate that accessing help from your local politician isn’t a privilege reserved only for those who back them at the polls.

As a direct result of the programme, I have made friends for life – and I have also been lucky enough to secure a permanent position in the office of my host MSP.

It is amazing to think that in the space of just ten weeks, I have blossomed so much as an individual – and that as a result – I have embarked on what I hope will be a lifelong trajectory of working in public service and promoting its value.”

Caitie Dundas

“I am abundantly grateful to the John Smith Centre for awarding me the opportunity to complete an internship in the Constituency Office of Nicola Sturgeon MSP. It has been a hugely rewarding experience which has taught me a great deal about the world of public service. From working with constituents to shadowing the First Minister in meetings, I was able to experience the nature of an MSP’s work first-hand.

My personal and professional development as a result of the internship have been absolutely invaluable and I feel so much more confident in my abilities than I did before.

Despite my previous voluntary experience, personal interest and academic studies in politics, the real-world experience which my placement offered me has been critically important in gaining a truthful understanding of the public sector.

I am looking forward to bringing the skills and experiences which I have been lucky to gain forward to future opportunities. For anybody interested in politics and public service, this internship is the perfect opportunity to take the first steps towards a career in these areas.”

Ross McCool

“The John Smith Centre Parliamentary Internship Programme was an incredibly valuable experience.

I participated in a range of activities from speech writing to casework. My work had meaning and I felt that my work was making a positive difference within the local community. The people, experience and work that I participated within was invaluable.

As a first-generation university student from a working-class background, I never assumed that I would be paid to work within the Scottish Parliament!”

Annie Ferguson

“The John Smith Centre is a unique and hugely beneficial platform, providing young people with an opportunity to experience politics and the public service for themselves. The Parliamentary Internship Programme in particular allows young people a chance to delve into the inner workings of government, giving them insightful experiences which they would not be able to experience otherwise.

The programme does not discriminate and actively supports young people no matter their background with the aim to reinstall trust back into the government and public services by uplifting and supporting interns they are inspiring a new generation into politics – with an ideology to help people through democracy and having the necessary passion not focused on power or greed.”

Salwa Malik

“As a fourth year Law and Politics Student the John Smith Centre Parliamentary Internship Programme gave me an incredible insight into the practicalities of working in public service on a day to day basis.

“In a short space of time I had completed an immense variety of work. One week I was undertaking in depth research on policy and the next I was summarising briefing papers for committee meetings.

“The internship was hugely beneficial and allowed my confidence and skillset to grow – I would recommend it to anyone who even in passing thinks about public service as a future career path.

“After completing this programme I realised that no matter how much you study politics and follow along with current affairs, having a more focused insight into what politicians, their teams and the wider network of Holyrood do day to day is far more informative.

“The John Smith Centre internship has opened so many doors for me and has given me the confidence to look for those opportunities within the public sector. I would highly recommend this internship as the knowledge and experience you will gain will be unique and invaluable and will open you up to so many possibilities and opportunities.

“In the lead up to the end of my degree the experience I had a the JSC is the most influential thing on my decision regarding future prospects and possible paths as now have a better and more informative understanding of what to expect within the sector and what the work will entail.”

Carolyn Crawford

“Hi All! My name is Carolyn and I was one of the first cohorts of John Smith Centre interns back in 2017.

“Since then, I went on to complete my Bachelor’s Degree in Politics in 2018, and in 2019 I completed a Masters Degree in Global Economy.

“Following my graduation from University, I was successful in gaining a place on the Civil Service Fast Stream graduate scheme which is consistently ranked in the top 3 UK graduate schemes, and have just begun my second year on the scheme.

“I honestly don’t think I’d have been able to achieve what I have so far without the knowledge and experience gained from my internship. It massively built my confidence and gave me invaluable public service experience which I feel helped me stand out when applying for the Civil Service.

“I was able to give real-world examples from my internship at the assessment centers and received feedback from the assessors that this really stood out to them and that they were impressed by the largely unique internship experience that I had.

“I feel that the JSC internship gave me the tools I needed to take the next steps in my career following University and that it really stands out to employers. I would encourage anyone interested in a career in government or public service to apply and I look forward to seeing how the Centre continues to grow!”

Adam McInnes

“My internship was extremely varied, and no two days were the same. I was exposed to a wide variety of constituency office life – surgeries, casework and visits to third sector organisations based in the constituency. I also got to spend time at the Scottish Parliament and had the opportunity to accompany Mr Yousaf to ministerial meetings and engagements in Parliament and at outside agencies.

“I found my internship to be a hugely rewarding experience which has opened doors for me that I could not possibly have opened on my own. Following my internship I worked part time for the John Smith Centre to expand the Parliamentary Internship Programme and in Humza Yousaf’s constituency office as a Constituency Assistant.

“The range of opportunities I was given through the links and contacts I developed over the course of my internship is beyond anything that I could have possibly imagined when I first applied for a place on the Internship Programme.

“The internship, and the associated opportunities that it led to, also gave me the confidence to apply for and then to secure a place on a highly competitive graduate job programme at one of Scotland’s leading financial institutions.

“My Parliamentary Internship really was a life-changing experience for me.”