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Now in its tenth year of formal graduate recruitment, Connect Communications is delighted to welcome new Graduate Trainee Charlotte Wells to the team. To help Charlotte on her way, our two most recent graduates Melanie Pope and Leonie Blakeway reflect on their first six months in public affairs.

Since starting at Connect we have experienced the excitement of Party Conference season, the drama of the Scottish Referendum and now face the challenge of an election year. Being a graduate trainee at Connect there’s no end to new experiences and you’re encouraged to get involved in all aspects of the organisation straight away. Whether it’s political monitoring, events or more specific client work there’s always something to learn.

Across a normal week we are the parliamentary eyes and ears for Connect’s clients. Political monitoring involves going through Parliamentary business, think tank reports and anything of interest in the news and sending it out to more than 30 different clients. This can take different forms ranging from summaries of individual news stories to bespoke daily or weekly reports. It’s a great way to get to know the clients and understand the issues that concern them. Between us we have covered a wide range of policy areas, from buses and fuel poverty to pensions and housing. In a busy week we attend Select Committee hearings and All Party Parliamentary Group meetings to take notes and feedback intelligence and insight to our clients.

Networking is also a crucial part of our week and we look forward to meeting other people in the industry at events and parties. Attending and organising events is also an important part of our role at Connect. This can range from a manifesto launch to a Parliamentary dinner. We’re involved in every element, from drafting invites to speakers, stakeholders and MPs to setting up the room on the day. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing an event come together and talking to a happy client at the end of the day.

We’ve had the opportunity to work with all of our colleagues on different client teams. This means that our work is always varied and we’ve quickly built relationships with everyone at Connect and of course the clients. Our work includes drafting political briefings such as a summary of a specific policy issue and its impact on the client. It can also involve organising and attending meetings with MPs and even helping clients to table the odd Early Day Motion, a petition that MPs can sign to show their support for a campaign.

New business is a central aspect of our work at Connect. At Connect we often attend group discussions to think about new ideas and how we can turn them into effective campaigns. As a graduate at Connect you are encouraged to contribute and your ideas are always appreciated. This ensures that you immediately feel like part of the team and are given the opportunity to be creative.

One of our favourite parts of Connect is the friendly atmosphere and the social experiences. We often go out for drinks or dinner as a reward for a hard day’s work. It’s been a busy but exciting six months and we would encourage anyone with an interest in politics, communications or just current affairs more generally to pursue a career in Public Affairs.