By Ellie Catherall, Wilton Park policy officer and former intern
I started my internship with the policy team at Wilton Park shortly after completing an MSc in International Development and Humanitarian Emergencies. I have found the past six months to be incredibly enriching, challenging and exciting and would highly encourage anyone considering applying to do so.
As a policy intern, I’ve supported the development and delivery of events on a variety of themes ranging from defence and security, to human rights, to the environment and climate change. Through working on a range of different events, I have been able to explore my interests and develop knowledge in new subject areas. I believe this is invaluable experience for recent graduates or those at an early stage of their career as it allows you to narrow down and refine your areas of expertise.
One of my highlights has been organising the inaugural Ambassadorial Summit, which brought together Ambassadors, High Commissioners and senior diplomats from other countries to the UK. Working directly with the Chief Executive, I created the event programme, sent invitations and worked closely with other teams across Wilton Park to ensure that the event ran smoothly. These efforts truly paid off when I was able to participate in the event alongside the Ambassadors, hearing from them how much they were enjoying the summit and were looking forward to coming back to Wiston House.
My internship has also allowed me to meet people that are leading experts in their field and often globally recognised. I’ve had the privilege of being able to attend events with speakers whose work I read and admired during my studies and beyond.
Wilton Park fosters a learning-positive environment where skills development is not just encouraged but championed. Interns are able to join policy team career days in London, visiting various organisations and meeting staff. I have also been able to take advantage of the mentoring scheme, providing me with one-to-one support. Such an atmosphere has made me feel able to take on new challenges and given me confidence when working in a fast-paced and dynamic environment.
The policy team has a diverse range of academic and professional backgrounds, and as such there is no one type of person that would be a successful intern. What is valued above all is enthusiasm, an interest in global affairs and the ability to offer new perspectives and think creatively.
To sum up, interning at Wilton Park has been a thoroughly positive experience and has given me the chance to take on a variety of roles and responsibilities in a supportive and nurturing environment. The skills I have gained and networks I have established have prepared me for my next role, as a policy officer at Wilton Park, and given me insight into policy making and the Civil Service more broadly