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Work Experience - A Day at Westminster

Each year, Year 12s organise a work experience placement, to get a grip of the working world and an insight into the industry in which they are interested. Due to her interest in both Politics and Journalism, Georgia Holden chose to spend hers in Westminster, shadowing the assistant editor of The Spectator Magazine, Isabel Hardman.  As Georgia explains, this experience, although incredibly nerve-wracking, was completely invaluable.  

I started the day by meeting Isabel in the lobby of Portcullis House and being shown around The Houses of Parliament. Isabel then took me to the press desks of the main Westminster and London newspapers within Portcullis House, where I met journalists and was involved in discussion of current affairs.

I was lucky enough to sit in on a Education Select Committee meeting, where the Chief of Ofsted, Sir Michael Wilshaw, was being questioned surrounding the Trojan Horse affair about extremist Islam groups infiltrating schools in Birmingham. Later, Isabel asked me to write up a brief article on the committee, which she then put on the Coffee House Blog website. I also witnessed a journalist doing his research for his write-up of the committee, calling school Headteachers and Ofsted inspectors to pad out his story. Seeing this first hand gave me fantastic insight into the life of a journalist and how stressful but interesting it is.

I also attended Prime Minister’s Questions in the press gallery, where I saw first-hand some of the most well-known journalists from newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent. I was fascinated by not only how the journalists take notes using illegible shorthand which they must write up immediately to keep up with current affairs, but also the social media updates that are almost constant.

Lastly, Isabel and I went to The Spectator office where I met the other journalists from the magazine, and sat in on the live podcast which is filmed in the office of the editor, Fraser Nelson. 

This experience has not only allowed me to be involved in current affairs, to write an article and learn about the life of journalists, but also given me invaluable contacts and lessons that will be fundamental in my future life, just as I am sure many other girls found from their placements.