Clara Pirie was an intern with Policy Scotland in spring and summer 2020, while she was undertaking an MSc in Education, Public Policy & Equity at the University of Glasgow.
Here she describes her experience.
I have spent the past six months working as one of three policy Interns alongside my MSc in Education, Public Policy & Equity. Given recent events, our experience has been slightly different to that of previous interns! Like many people, the Policy Scotland team began working remotely in March and shifted priorities to focus on responses to the COVID-19 crisis. While we have all experienced the crisis in different ways both personally and professionally, it provided an opportunity for me to contribute to important discussions and projects.
In particular, I began working with the Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland (CNS) team on a research project examining the impact of COVID-19 on children and families. I was able to contribute to research looking at risk factors and inequalities for refugees and vulnerable migrants. I also worked on a briefing paper for policymakers discussing resilience-building projects in relation to COVID-19 recovery. I found the work fascinating, and, as it related to my own studies, it meant I was able to develop ideas that benefitted my academic work, too. It was hugely valuable to be given the responsibility to work independently on such important projects. I also learnt a lot from the CNS team about conducting social research, particularly in such a fast-moving setting.
In addition to the COVID-related work, however, I was able to gain skills and experience across a range of projects and areas. I used different research methods, conducted analysis of government statistics, wrote literature reviews, policy briefings, and supported knowledge exchange events with practitioners, policymakers and civil servants. My work comprised policy and research areas such as educational inequalities, children and families, housing, inclusive growth and innovation zones, to name but a few!
Overall, the internship has been hugely beneficial as I have been able to directly apply the theory and skills developed through my MSc programme. As someone who doesn’t come from a social science undergraduate background, I found the role really helpful in building my confidence. It has been an excellent way to gain relevant experience whilst studying and the Policy Scotland and Children’s Neighbourhoods Scotland teams have been supportive and encouraging throughout the process. For any University of Glasgow postgraduate students who are interested in gaining experience alongside your studies, I would absolutely recommend this internship.
More about Policy Scotland internships
Policy Scotland offers several paid internships each year to students at the University of Glasgow, usually starting in the early spring.
Each internship offers the chance to work with senior academics who are closely linked with policy processes, with active researchers within Policy Scotland and across the University, and with high level policymakers. The experience provides insights into how policy processes work at different levels of government and through the legislative process
Find out more about the Policy Scotland internships and how to apply.