The London School of Economics and Political Science, which provides more student interns for MPs than any other university, celebrated 10 years of LSE Student Internships with a reception at the House of Commons.
The scheme, which has placed more than 250 students with MPs, provides a valuable experience for students and a useful, free, resource for MPs.
The success of the scheme has led to its expansion over the years into a range of organisations from think-tanks, NGOs and charities to research groups and public affairs consultancies. LSE Careers Service is now extending internships to meet the demands of students interested in working in the corporate social responsibility field.
The reception in Parliament was hosted by Barry Sheerman MP, one of the scheme's founders and keen supporters, and featured David Willetts MP as guest speaker.
LSE internships at Westminster are unusual -- they are for graduates only and the students can be from any subject. As LSE is a truly international university many of the interns are from overseas. The links between LSE and Westminster are strong - the current Parliament includes 34 MPs and 35 Peers who are LSE alumni.
Patrick Dunleavy, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at LSE, a founder of the scheme, said, "Along with the US Congress, the House of Commons has provided much of the 'source code' for how to run elected legislatures. Our idea was to give as many LSE students as possible a worthwhile opportunity to experience at first hand what it is like working for an MP in Westminster. At the same time were were keen to provide MPs with a small additional resource that would be helpful for them in carrying out their duties."
Fiona Sandford, Head of LSE Careers, added, 'Careers in politics, policy and public affairs are increasingly popular with students from all disciplines. Those graduates pursuing a career in these areas begin on a career path that is less clearly defined than that of many of their peers. Established summer placements are highly sought after but rare. There is no 'Big Four' to target, no graduate scheme to apply for, clinching that first bit of experience is tough. The LSE Internships Scheme has long addressed a need.'
She added, 'Cutbacks in graduate recruitment in the financial sector are having a knock-on effect on other sectors. Students have to diversify and be more imaginative in their approach to their future careers. It is increasingly crucial that they gain work experience in a wide range of areas - and this is what our expanded Scheme offers. LSE students have traditionally commanded high starting salaries and enjoyed excellent access to a range of careers - and we are determined to keep it that way.'
A booklet marking the anniversary, From LSE To Westminster: 10 years of student internships, is available on the careers service website at http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/LSEInternships/parliamentaryInternships/DefaultParl.htm
For more information contact LSE press office on 020 7955 7060
25 June 2008