'My week at SYP'
by Lewis Reynolds, S4 pupil at Gracemount High School, Edinburgh
Hello, my name is Lewis Reynolds and I recently spent a week doing work experience at the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP).
The week before my work experience, I spent the Friday looking for SYP’s offices, walking around in circles for about 20 minutes before finding the entrance but it was worth finding it the week before so that I wasn’t lost or late on my first day. This is when I met my first member of the SYP team, Paul, the Engagement and Participation Officer. We had a short conversation about my work experience, and why I had chosen SYP. Paul was very helpful and helped ease my nerves about coming to SYP.
When I arrived on Monday 11th September, I gave myself plenty of time to be late and so came 20 minutes early. For my first few hours at SYP I was introduced to the staff and had a short meeting with each one of them to discuss what their role was and how I would be working with them during the week. I was still very nervous but the staff here are very friendly and were happy to help me if I was ever unsure about anything. I was given a notepad, a few pens, a lot of information, resources, the SYP manifesto Lead the Way, among other things that I would need for the week.
My first task at SYP was to research information on the motions that the members of the Scottish Youth Parliament would present at the October national sitting. I spent the last hours of my first day searching the web for information on many confidential motions.
My second day of working at SYP was very exciting. Laura (Public Affairs Officer), Rosy (Events and Campaigns Officer), Ben (Chief Executive Officer) and myself travelled to Victoria Quay to attend a meeting with the Scottish Government to discuss SYP’s new campaign on young people’s rights. This was my first meeting with a Government official and I wasn’t too sure exactly what was being discussed as I had only been at SYP for a day but the experience of going to this meeting was very impactful in shaping my perception of the role of SYP.
The Scottish Youth Parliament isn’t a boring office but an organisation that actually makes a difference to the voices of young people in the decisions made by politicians in the Scottish Parliament. Once we got back to the office I started my second task for the week, developing infographics and drafting tweets for International Democracy Day with the Communications Officer, Karen. At first I wasn’t sure how to complete the task but with some guidance from Karen I was working to complete my second task for the week and I finished the day very optimistic about the rest of the week.
On day three at SYP, I spent the day continuing with research for Members’ Motions and the development of infographics until lunch at 12.30pm. After lunch, I was tasked with preparing packs containing name badges and note pads, pens, and other resources needed for SYP64 (the next national sitting in October).
My fourth day working at SYP was my personal favourite. We had a full team meeting in the morning to discuss the campaign. These meetings last about an hour and it helps the team keep up-to-date on what the rest of the team are doing and what needs to be done. The real fun came at 12 o’clock however when Laura, Public Affairs Officer, and myself went to the First Minister’s Questions. At the First Minister’s questions we had the opportunity to observe the parties in the Scottish Parliament debate issues and hold the ruling party to account.
I had a lot of fun and found the FMQs very informative and amusing. Afterwards, Laura and myself met Adam Tomkins, a Conservative MSP for Glasgow. This was all very useful for me trying to get a taste of what a career in politics is like. We got back to the office for lunch and for the rest of the day I worked with the Engagement and Participation team, counting votes and making suggestions for changes to presentations.
My fifth and final day of work experience here at the Scottish Youth Parliament is today and after a quick meeting this morning I am writing this blog. I have greatly enjoyed my work experience here and am very thankful to the lovely staff members and my guidance teacher back at school for this week of work experience. At the start of the week I was very anxious about coming to work experience and didn’t know what was going on or what I was doing.
Now at the end of my work experience week here, I’m confident in my ability to work and I know what’s going on most of the time! It was brilliant experience working for the Scottish Youth Parliament and I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for work experience in politics or charities in the future.