If I were to sum up my experience as a Communications & Media Assistant at the British Youth Council in one word, I’d say it was busy – very busy! But my experience was equally exciting, inspiring and rewarding as it was busy. Not only were both the UK Youth Parliament at the House of Commons and the Youth Select Committee Report Launch at Portcullis House extremely hectic events, but they were tons of fun, too. Meanwhile, at the London office, everyone always seemed to be, well… busy. I genuinely struggle to recall a day where Rhammel, the Communications & Media Officer, wasn’t stuck dealing with one of the many press calls he received (some even at 6:30 am, apparently!)
The events, as mentioned, were slightly busy too. I mean, as the home of our democracy, being in the House of Commons in a media-related role was never going to be a stroll in the park. But despite its hectic nature, being in the House of Commons during the UK Youth Parliament felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity. Seeing John Bercow, Speaker of the House, emotively praise the Members of Youth Parliament at the end of the day’s proceedings conveyed his genuine and tangible passion for the youth and next generation of politicians which Bercow possesses in abundance. It was also reassuring seeing prominent Conservative Party figures Justine Greening MP and Andrea Leadsom MP attend the sitting and speak to the Members of Youth Parliament. The passion and commitment from each debate lead, as well as other Members of Youth Parliament, was also awe-inspiring. People younger than 16 years old were speaking in the House of Commons in front of hundreds of their fellow MYPs and senior MPs, I couldn’t imagine doing that when I was 16 – that’s for sure. Being situated in the media room was an insight into what life behind-the-scenes is like at the House of Commons, and was something I’d never thought I’d be given the honour to experience – and is something I hope to experience again in the future!
Then, a few days later, came the Youth Select Committee Report Launch at Portcullis House. That was less busy, for sure. But it wasn’t any less inspiring with regards to the passion demonstrated by groups of young people who are committed to causes which affect their fellow young people. The issue of body image, which was the subject of this year’s inquiry, demonstrates the maturity of the members of the Youth Select Committee, and their genuine desire to improve the well-being of young people across the country. Thomas Copeland, Chair of the Youth Select Committee, and Anna Rose Barker, Chair of the British Youth Council, were notable for their maturity, ability to convey information, and passion for the issue of body image.
Throughout these events and over the course of my time here from October until December, I have been assigned a range of different roles by Rhammel. Ranging from designing tweets with suitably accompanying Christmas-themed GIFs, live tweeting during both the UK Youth Parliament and Youth Select Committee events, to contacting local and national press and watching the Autumn Budget live whilst scribbling down as many notes as I could – I really have done it all here at the British Youth Council! The only shame is that I couldn’t stay for longer.
This experience, I feel, has been genuinely invaluable for me in terms of my personal development. As my first experience in an office-related position, I feel that this will allow me to thrive in future positions in whatever I decide to pursue. This unique experience has also given me an insight into the world of Communications and has reinforced my passion for the media industry.
Lastly, I need to say a special thanks to all the staff in the London office, and particularly Rhammel. Thank you for giving me this amazing opportunity, helping me whenever I was unsure about something and giving me invaluable advice for my future – I will never forget it!