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Want to get involved in political campaigning but I don't have a degree. Watch

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    I want to get involved in political campaigning but I don't have a degree. How can I accomplish this? Is volunteering the only way? I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions!

    Thanks


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    (Original post by socialnoob)
    I want to get involved in political campaigning but I don't have a degree. How can I accomplish this? Is volunteering the only way? I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions!

    Thanks


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    Why would you need a degree? Just getin contact with your local party and they'll be happy to have you along. Generally volunteering is the main way in - you can apply for posts on websites like w4mp.org but most people applying will have a lot of experience of volunteer campaigning.

    Which party are you looking to help you with?
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    (Original post by WharfedaleTiger)
    Why would you need a degree? Just getin contact with your local party and they'll be happy to have you along. Generally volunteering is the main way in - you can apply for posts on websites like w4mp.org but most people applying will have a lot of experience of volunteer campaigning.

    Which party are you looking to help you with?
    Thanks I thought volunteering was the way to go. I'm looking to help the Conservative party. If I gain experience as a volunteer is it likely to lead to paid opportunities further down the line in regards to campaigning?


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    Anyone here volunteered before?


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    (Original post by socialnoob)
    Thanks I thought volunteering was the way to go. I'm looking to help the Conservative party. If I gain experience as a volunteer is it likely to lead to paid opportunities further down the line in regards to campaigning?


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    I can't speak for the Tories but, if I'm honest, getting a paid role is pretty tough, particularly as a non-graduate.

    Most people who become paid campaigners have been involved in politics for several years and taken on a lot of unpaid roles. I was heavily involved for two and a bit years before I first got a paid role as an intern and it took me another year or so of work before I got a permanent role. To get a paid campaigning role you'll probably need to do more event than that - its the real obsessives who tend to get party roles. You're talking thousands of hours worth of investment for what is a pretty small reward (if you're doing it for a paid job, as politics doesn't pay well)

    But then people don't really do politics for the money - I feel into getting a paid position and many others are like me. You do it, at least at first, because you genuinely care about the issues and because you're not happy with the status quo. Being paid is a bonus, not the aim.
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    (Original post by socialnoob)
    I want to get involved in political campaigning but I don't have a degree. How can I accomplish this? Is volunteering the only way? I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions!

    Thanks


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    don't need one

    even to become a politician, don't need any "qualifications"
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    (Original post by WharfedaleTiger)
    I can't speak for the Tories but, if I'm honest, getting a paid role is pretty tough, particularly as a non-graduate.

    Most people who become paid campaigners have been involved in politics for several years and taken on a lot of unpaid roles. I was heavily involved for two and a bit years before I first got a paid role as an intern and it took me another year or so of work before I got a permanent role. To get a paid campaigning role you'll probably need to do more event than that - its the real obsessives who tend to get party roles. You're talking thousands of hours worth of investment for what is a pretty small reward (if you're doing it for a paid job, as politics doesn't pay well)

    But then people don't really do politics for the money - I feel into getting a paid position and many others are like me. You do it, at least at first, because you genuinely care about the issues and because you're not happy with the status quo. Being paid is a bonus, not the aim.
    Yeah I just want to get involved in political campaigning it would be nice further down the line to get a paid position I don't really care how long it takes. Which party were you involved in? Did you learn a lot from it? Do you have any tips or advice?


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    (Original post by socialnoob)
    Yeah I just want to get involved in political campaigning it would be nice further down the line to get a paid position I don't really care how long it takes. Which party were you involved in? Did you learn a lot from it? Do you have any tips or advice?


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    I'm a Labour member and I learnt a huge amount from it. Politics really allows you to see every aspect of the world and meet people you simply don't encounter in other situations. It also helps develop a lot of skills which are useful in other situations. Plus its a huge amount of fun - even when you don't win!

    As for tips and advice - not sure. Stay positive with it (as you'll get a lot of knockbacks) and try to enjoy it.
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    (Original post by WharfedaleTiger)
    I'm a Labour member and I learnt a huge amount from it. Politics really allows you to see every aspect of the world and meet people you simply don't encounter in other situations. It also helps develop a lot of skills which are useful in other situations. Plus its a huge amount of fun - even when you don't win!

    As for tips and advice - not sure. Stay positive with it (as you'll get a lot of knockbacks) and try to enjoy it.
    Why do most paid jobs go to graduates?


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    If it's so hard to get a paid campaigning job as a non graduate would I be able to take the skills I have gained from political campaigning and help myself secure a paid job in a non political related field as a non graduate? What realistic options do I have?


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    (Original post by socialnoob)
    Why do most paid jobs go to graduates?


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    Same reasons that most higher level jobs do - skills and trust.

    Most political jobs require high level critical reasoning and literacy skills. You have to be be able to hold a line, understand a wide range of complex issues and be able to write a lot of high quality stuff. Because of this Members (and parties) tend to prefer grads - not because non-grads can't do it but they no that graduates can.

    Purer campaigning roles are a bit different and far more on the basis of experience rather than education. They're harder to get and far rarer however.

    This doesn't mean that you can't get a job in politics without being a graduate - many MP's did not go to uni and a lot of staff came through alternative routes (In the Labour Party many come through the Unions) It just means that it is harder.
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    The only degree you need for political campaigning is enthusiasm.
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    (Original post by Jacob-C)
    The only degree you need for political campaigning is enthusiasm.
    Thanks! But from the previous poster it seems like I'm never going to get a paid position because I don't have a degree or at the very least it will be incredibly hard which is a shame as I would quite have like a full time political campaigning career.

    Have you ever been in political campaigning. Anyone else on here who has? Would love to hear your experiences.


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    You may want to look at roles in NGOs (Non-governmental organisations) if you want to do political campaigning as it is likely that you won't find a paid job in party politics at the moment, with most of them filled in time for the election. Plus in order to stand for an MP you have to be selected by your constituency group which will be very difficult if you are only just a new member.

    I haven't been campaigning yet but I have recently joined a party so they will no doubt get me involved when I go to the next meeting, seen as the election is not long away. Because of the election drawing close you are going to be welcomed with open arms if you want to join a party or campaign for them.
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    (Original post by Jacob-C)
    You may want to look at roles in NGOs (Non-governmental organisations) if you want to do political campaigning as it is likely that you won't find a paid job in party politics at the moment, with most of them filled in time for the election. Plus in order to stand for an MP you have to be selected by your constituency group which will be very difficult if you are only just a new member.

    I haven't been campaigning yet but I have recently joined a party so they will no doubt get me involved when I go to the next meeting, seen as the election is not long away. Because of the election drawing close you are going to be welcomed with open arms if you want to join a party or campaign for them.
    Thanks for that do NGO's not require a degree?


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    (Original post by socialnoob)
    Thanks for that do NGO's not require a degree?
    It depends, some do others don't. You would have to check their requirements. Charities may take you on without a degree.
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    (Original post by Jacob-C)
    It depends, some do others don't. You would have to check their requirements. Charities may take you on without a degree.
    Thanks for your help it is much appreciated if you want to keep in touch then please feel free to pm!


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    (Original post by WharfedaleTiger)
    I can't speak for the Tories but, if I'm honest, getting a paid role is pretty tough, particularly as a non-graduate.

    Most people who become paid campaigners have been involved in politics for several years and taken on a lot of unpaid roles. I was heavily involved for two and a bit years before I first got a paid role as an intern and it took me another year or so of work before I got a permanent role. To get a paid campaigning role you'll probably need to do more event than that - its the real obsessives who tend to get party roles. You're talking thousands of hours worth of investment for what is a pretty small reward (if you're doing it for a paid job, as politics doesn't pay well)

    I would agree that ‘getting in’ is pretty tough.

    I did a paid internship straight out of uni and actually got that fairly easily. But from that I struggled to get a paid researcher role as all the positions on W4MP were demanding 1 year of experience which my internship did not provide.

    Two of my MPs team got in via unpaid internships – and this is the supposedly meritocratic Labour Party.

    To be fair I was never one of the supposed obsessives that you talk of. I remember praising some opposition policies like taking the lowest paid of tax and getting funny looks. You've got to be very tribal.

    I also remember a terrible canvassing session on a wet cold dark November night in suburbia that made me think 'I really want to do something else with my life'.

    A little overlooked on here is that there is no job security. Patrick Mercer employed staff. What happened to them? Louise Mensch? David Miliband? There is much to be said for in house public affairs roles that pay better and have far more security attached to them.
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    Can you expand on the in house public affairs roles? Do you need a degree for them


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    You might also want to look at things other than party politics.

    Don't get me wrong, I help my local Labour Party branch/constituency out but in my experience it's mostly voter identification first, listening second.

    There's loads of other ways of getting involved in political campaigning though. Some groups that are active in Nottingham, or have been in Nottingham, which spring to mind:

    Notts Uncut - as part of UK Uncut protested outside Vodafone shops and HSBC branches and effectively started the whole public debate on tax avoidance and evasion which has become a hot topic as a result.

    Nottingham Citizens - got over £1m in commitments out of the Police & Crime Commissioner candidates despite nobody really caring about the positions.

    Response East Midlands (only about a fortnight old) - so far have prevented two unlawful evictions by banks who have been reselling and changing the terms on people's mortgages. Attracted coverage in Metro, BBC News, Nottingham Post, Huffington Post, The Telegraph, BBC Radio Nottingham, loads more. People literally just standing/sitting in the street with a cuppa

    UoN Living Wage Campaign - mix of staff and students trying to get the University of Nottingham to pay a Living Wage to all its staff and contractors - we are very nearly there I think.

    NUS LGBT Network - perhaps one of the most vocal groups in the country when it came to the Same-Sex Marriages Bill which eventually passed.

    Keep Our NHS Public/NHS999/Save the NHS/many others - trying to get NHS privatisation reversed and nurses paid a fair wage. Hard to tell whether they had much influence in Labour's decision to commit to repealing the Health and Social Care Reform Bill, but there was clearly enough public outcry about it for them to commit.

    Bedroom Tax groups - many have gotten local authorities to commit to not evicting people who fall into rent arrears because of the bedroom tax. In Nottingham they're trying to get Nottingham City Council to do the same.

    Unite the Union - currently using their leverage department to try and prevent private companies winning NHS contracts where both public and private bids have been made.

    Disabled People Against the Cuts + many others - UK-wide protests against Atos and trying to prevent work capability assessments being left with private companies with profit-driven targets were a huge voice in getting Atos to drop out of the contract.

    Hope not Hate - most recently spent majority of resources in opposing UKIP and exposing their bigotry and idiocy.

    Issue-based campaigning aside, there's also groups campaigning for different models of democracy e.g. anarchist groups.

    Have a look around on Facebook for local groups, maybe try different things out - party politics, single-issues, themed campaign groups - and see where your heart is?

    Either way good on you for wanting to make a difference! I might be working towards a degree but we definitely need a more diverse group of people involved in some campaigns and elected as politicians
 
 
 
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