If you have applied to Parliament, we would like you to hear from you. Please use the following form to detail your experiences of application, to aid those interested in following a similar career path.
Position applied for:
Trainee Assistant Archivist
Year of Application:
London - I'm based in Westminster Palace itself.
Completed a BA (Hons) degree in History and Music at Royal Holloway in 2006, passing with a 2:1.
What were your experiences of the application process?
It was uncomplicated - I simply filled in the application form, making sure to mention all my archival voluntary work in addition to my qualifications etc., and was called to interview. I thought it had gone really badly, to be honest, but it clearly went much better than expected because a couple of days later I received an email from HR offering me the job!
What is it like working for Parliament?
It's fantastic - an experience I'll never forget. I feel privileged to work for the House of Lords, and feel proud of the role it has in processing legislation and scrutinising the Government. I've learned so much about Parliament over the time I've been working there. The Archives doesn't directly serve the Chamber so I don't have much contact with Peers, but I have plenty of contact with the administrations of both Houses, members of the public and - of course - the records produced and received by both Houses, the oldest of which date back to 1497. I'm not employed by the House of Commons so I can't speak for that, but the House of Lords is definitely a good employer regarding training, both with standard training such as fire, manual handling, health & safety etc., but also with more specific career-related training. For example I was sent on an archives skills training day, have been permitted to visit other archives and received help and advice when applying to UCL for an MA in Archives and Records Management (which I start this autumn).
As I work in the Palace itself the surroundings are fantastic - so much history and wonderful architecture - and because the House is public sector I get a generous amount of annual leave. Most departments within the House are tied to recess with regards to leave, but the Archives is a public office so I can take leave anywhen within reason, just like with any organisation. There are occasional perks attached to working for the House of Lords, too, such as the opportunity to enter staff ballots for tickets to the State Opening of Parliament, the Trooping the Colour and the Garter Service.
How has it compared to your expectations?
It's lived up to them, certainly. The only slight worry I had before starting was that the people might be a bit snobby, but this hasn't been the case - my colleagues are down to earth, warm, friendly and approachable.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Working as a fully qualified archivist, preferably in a specialist or academic archive.
Finally, any advice you would give to potential applicants?
Don't feel intimidated - you'll have as good a chance of success applying to the House of Lords as if you applied to any well-known organisation.