A career in faith and politics?

The 2017 interns
The 2017 interns

Applications are open to become a Faith in Politics intern in the academic year beginning in September 2018.

Since 2003 the Catholic Parliamentary and Public Policy Internships scheme has seen nearly 90 young Catholics spend a year working in Parliament or with agencies of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

The scheme is unique in the way that it offers a foundation of Catholic faith and spiritual formation for those who believe that they may have a vocation to public service in politics or public affairs. Interns on the Faith in Politics scheme can apply to work with Christian MPs or peers in their Westminster offices, the CBCEW and CES parliamentary team, the Catholic Communications Network, CAFOD or Caritas Social Action Network.

They are given the opportunity to complete a fully funded, part-time postgraduate certificate in Catholic Social Teaching at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. As well as this, the group regularly meet with Christians who work in all walks of public life, as well as those succeeding in the private sector. They visit Rome partly in pilgrimage and partly to learn how the Vatican works and how the UK relates to the Holy See.

Importantly their year begins and ends with a retreat at St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre and spiritual guidance, provided by the Jesuits, is an integral part of their programme.

Inspired to effect social change

Rory, an intern from last year’s cohort said: “I have learnt a lot and am ready to go into the working world with confidence. I cannot imagine a better first year out of university”.

Megan Knowles, Communications and Development Officer at Jesuit Refugee Service, was a Parliamentary intern in 2013-14.  She writes “Working as a Parliamentary intern at CAFOD was a truly formative experience. The skills I gained I've carried through an eclectic mix of roles since. The introduction to Catholic social teaching prepared me well for my current role as Communications and Development Officer at JRS UK. JRS' work is grounded in Catholic social teaching and imbued with Ignatian Spirituality, which the internship offered my first experience of. What I treasure the most from my time as a Parliamentary intern was the privilege of meeting so many distinguished individuals whose personal faith is foundational to their public and private life. I was inspired in different ways by those whom we met, but each time I was inspired to do something over nothing; to channel my skills and compassion into effective social change.”

This year’s cohort has settled well into their new lives in London. Josh particularly notes the special community in which the interns live throughout their year. He says that “every body makes an effort to make it feel like a real community”. Being in a Catholic environment has also helped to “develop faith and friendship” in equal measure.

Developing a network for young Catholic professionals

With 90 “graduates” of the scheme there is now a strong network of alumni who have long voiced a desire to take this work forward beyond the year of the internship, and into the many and diverse areas in which they work.

The wider support that the interns receive has a lasting effect as they develop careers. Intern from 2013, Phoebe, has greatly benefited from the networking that takes place after the internship has finished. She states that “the experience of the internship was invaluable in securing a career in the charity sector”, and has since benefitted through “a wider network of support” around the scheme.

Not only does the network encourage friendships and working relations, but also provides information on job opportunities that may be of interest to the group. Phoebe now works for the Santa Marta Group to prevent human trafficking and modern slavery.

The Young Professionals Network, originally a gathering of ex-interns but now open to a range of young professionals in the Christian and charity sector, is a means not only to meet like-minded individuals, forging professions in London, but is also a space to learn, be encouraged, encourage others and help in the community. More information about upcoming events can be found on their Facebook page 

Apply now

Applications are open to become a Faith in Politics intern in the academic year beginning in September 2018. Applicants are advised to apply for more than one role, even if their university degree does not seem directly related. The main criteria for entry are an understanding of the Catholic faith, a strong vocation to social action, a flair and initiative for creative work, and a 2:1 degree or higher. More information and the application form

For a more in depth insight into the experiences of the interns then please read the first edition of our new, annual magazine