Since 2014 Tynwald has offered 12-month parliamentary paid internship programmes. 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.
The post is advertised each May for an August/September start date through the Tynwald website, Isle of Man Government JobTrain website and on social media. This year the post also attracted interest from Manchester Metropolitan University, which promoted the vacancy on its internal portal for internships and included an alert to applicants regarding the Isle of Man’s work permit requirements.
For the 2020-21 parliamentary year 24 applications were received, with 21-year-old Kieran Skehan emerging the successful applicant.
A former Castle Rushen High School student, Kieran graduated from the University of Nottingham with a first-class Honours degree in geography, He said: ‘Being selected as a Tynwald intern is an opportunity for me to apply my university studies and become more deeply involved in a parliament than might have been possible elsewhere, such as Westminster, for example. Here I’m much closer to the subject so will be able to learn about every area of parliamentary business.
‘Before I came here, I knew some things about Tynwald, but now I’m seeing there are so many more elements involved.
‘Already in the short time I’ve been here, I’ve served as an assistant clerk to the Economic Policy Review Committee during an oral evidence hearing, which was not only really interesting to observe but also something I never thought I’d have the opportunity to be involved in so early on in my internship.
‘Everyone has been very willing to offer assistance and I’ve been given meaningful work right from the start and entrusted with a level of responsibility I never imagined. To anyone considering applying in future years, I’d say an internship with Tynwald is a good thing to do. It really is a unique opportunity.’
Two former interns, Charlie Shimmins and Emma Gaines, have been reflecting on their time spent at Tynwald.
Charlie Shimmins, 25, spent five months from August to December 2016 with the team before joining the Cabinet Office where he rose to the position of private secretary to the Chief Minister.
He has recently relocated to London to join the Civil Service Fast Stream leadership development programme, where his first post will be with the Department for International Trade. Reflecting on his time at Tynwald he said: ‘Those five months were a great preparation for the years I spent in government. I, too, was surprised by the level responsibility I was given so early on in my internship. The knowledge about parliamentary business I gained as an intern was so valuable and great preparation for when I moved to the Cabinet Office. Having that help with my first “foot in the door” of government was really useful, boosted my confidence and has proved brilliant for my career.’
Emma Gaines, 24, began her internship in August 2018 after graduating from the University of Newcastle with a degree in business and sociology. After completing her internship in June 2019 Emma went on a four-week attachment to the Parliamentary Assembly of Northern Territory, Australia, which saw her undertake research, support the deputy clerks and assist in educational outreach activities. She has now joined the Cabinet Office as a private secretary to the Chief Minister.
Looking back over her time spent at Tynwald she said: ‘The internship was valuable in so many different ways. I not only learned about the workings of parliament but I also gained experience of working as part of a team and interacting with members and officers. I also acquired skills not directly related to parliamentary work that I’ll be able to apply elsewhere. The experience gave me added confidence, too, so although taking up a job in the Cabinet Office for the first time is daunting, I feel better prepared.
‘An attachment to the Clerk of Tynwald’s Office gives you a level of responsibility and opens up career opportunities not every young person on an internship scheme will be fortunate to experience. I would firmly recommend the programme.’
The President of Tynwald, Steve Rodan MLC, said: ‘Tynwald has long been committed to sharing knowledge and experience, not only in its work to strengthen parliamentary democracy but also to support young people’s early career pathways.
‘Tynwald may have a history spanning more than 1000 years but it is always looking to the future. Our internship programme seeks to recognise and nurture young talent by providing opportunities for interns to engage in meaningful work, advance their personal development and acquire skills they will be able to apply in whatever profession they choose to pursue.
‘We have been impressed by the consistently high calibre of interns and wish Kieran, Charlie, Emma and all the other young people we have been pleased to welcome onto the programme every success for the future.’