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Offering ownership and responsibility - Tynwald internships

Miss Emma Gaines and Mr Ben Awkal

​Tynwald has offered 12-month parliamentary paid internship programmes since 2014.  Arranged by the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office they provide an opportunity to gain training and experience in a wide range of parliamentary functions, procedures and services.

Interns Emma Gaines, 23 and Benjamin Awkal, 21, entered the programme in August 2018. They will be completing their internships this July and have been reflecting on their experiences.

University of Kent law graduate Benjamin said: ‘Policy and legislation are areas of special interest to me, so to be able to work in similar fields as a Tynwald intern has been really valuable. From the very first week I was given a lot of responsibility, working on evidence reports and clerking committee meetings, for example, which was very interesting. I found that much of the work you’re given tends to be tailored to your particular skill set, but you also get involved in areas you’re less familiar with, which expands your knowledge and helps to develop new skills.’

Emma graduated from the University of Newcastle with a degree in business and sociology. She said: ‘None of the work has been mundane. We’ve both been given ownership of projects, which is great. I’ve always been interested in children’s education and having worked at a summer camp in the US, was pleased to be involved in Tynwald’s outreach activities, which included leading school tours of the Chambers and devising a programme for Year 12 and 13 students from Castle Rushen High School. Feedback has been very positive and I’ve been approached by a few students asking me about work experience opportunities at Tynwald.

‘I’ve served as assistant clerk on a number of committees, including Economic Policy Review, Emoluments and Harbours Strategy, which was daunting at first, but that’s where the support we receive has been so valuable.’
Benjamin added: ‘The mentoring support, advice and oversight have been of a very high quality and you know you can always turn to someone to act as a sounding board.’

Turning to drafting reports Benjamin said: ‘The extensive research you undertake leads you to develop a very detailed understanding of policy making. What’s also been rewarding is to have been able to make recommendations on important issues such as the draft Education Bill, then see an end product and know you’ve been involved in tangible “real” work.

A new feature of the internship programme is an exchange opportunity with the Parliamentary Assembly of Northern Territory, Australia, which will see Benjamin undertaking research, committee secretariat work and clerking at the Table for four weeks from late July.

‘Emma said: ‘I’ve always wanted to work in the field of education. Being a Tynwald intern is proving to be a rare experience and has fuelled my interest to consider working in an educational capacity in a parliament. When I started my internship I didn’t know what to expect, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised.’

Tynwald internship applications for 2019-2020 remain open until 5pm, Thursday May 30, 2019. For details, click here.

For further information contact:  

The Hon Steve Rodan, President of Tynwald
Telephone: 01624 685500
Clerk of Tynwald’s Office
Legislative Buildings
Isle of Man IM1 3PW       
01624 685500
May 28, 2019
Published - 29/05/2019