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Career Summary:

First job as Admin Executive in the Privy Council Office followed by other temporary positions in Whitehall to support myself through studies. I interned at the Foreign Policy Centre. After studies I began working for Keith Vaz MP for just over two years – first as the junior, then as the senior Parliamentary Officer. After Parliament worked at the Institution of Civil Engineers as Public Affairs Manager, then as Account Manager at GK Political. In 2012 I began work as a freelance political consultant for clients in hospitality, education and third sector.

Academic/Professional Qualifications:

Undergraduate degree from the London School of Economics, post-graduate degree taken at Kings College London, both in international politics, law and history.

How did you get into Public Affairs?

It started with a keen interest in Westminster politics from a young age. After working in Parliament it was a natural step for my career.

What does your current freelance work entail on a day to day basis?

A working day varies a lot – more so than in my previous roles. The day will generally begin with email and monitoring. Meetings with clients or other stakeholders usually take place from later morning. The afternoon is usually when I get solidly stuck into major pieces of work – preparing copy, advice and analysis. It’s also important to remember to set time aside during the week to consider how work is developing and scope out other opportunities.

Which campaign/issue are you most proud to have worked on?

CutTourismVAT which brings together over 3,500 businesses campaigning for rate of Tourism VAT to be brought into line with competitor destinations in the EU. 2013 was my first year as Campaign Manager with a number of notable successes including a positive summer campaign which achieved more than thirty pieces of coverage over August and significantly growing political support amongst all parties. We have also started to build good relations with key editors in leading regional and national media (print and broadcast) which will be a great springboard for the campaign in the future.

What advice would you give to Parliamentary staff who are interested in moving into Public Affairs?

Do your homework early – even if you’re not planning to leave Parliament in the next year. Come along to a few PubAffairs Networking events which are a great way to make contacts and gain knowledge on the industry. Finally, don’t get caught out if you know your MP is standing down or has a chance of losing his/her seat in the election.

How relevant is being a Political Party member for Public Affairs work?

I think declaring yourself as a card-carrying member helps in as much as it directly shows you have your own understanding, opinions and political networks.

What challenges do you face as a freelance consultant?

In my first year it was learning how to ‘switch off’ at some point in the week and properly relax and exercise.

What's your prediction for the next General Election result?

Small Labour majority – say 5 or 15.

Quick-Fire Round  
What politician, past or present, would you like to get stuck in a lift with? Alec Salmond
LinkedIN or Twitter? LinkedIn. Better for new business.
Tweet your career-to-date in 140 characters or less Data entry, Whitehall PA, #UnpaidIntern (#EnvelopeStuffing), Comms&Events Exec, Office of @Keith_VazMP, PA Manager @ICE_engineers, Agency, #Freelance #MoreToCome
What’s your Media diet? Guardian, Telegraph, Times, Guido Fawkes, Labour List, ConservativeHome
Favourite Film Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Guilty pleasure Reading in the bath


Read Vernon Hunte's advice for students and recent graduates in the GraduateForward Advice Centre where he answers questions including: How relevant is Degree subject for a public affairs career? If you could timetravel back to your final year at University, what career advice would you give yourself? Having worked in the House, how important would you say Parliamentary experience is to a career in public affairs?

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