Interning in the Mayor’s Office

Alicia – Communications and Engagement Intern

For three months this summer I was lucky to be a part of the Mayor’s Office team, and I’m now going into my final year studying geography at university.

My internship experience has been invaluable. Working in the Mayor’s Office has allowed me to delve into a diverse range of challenges affecting Bristol. Climate change, regeneration, and transport systems to name a few. It gave me great insight into the decisions at the heart of the city and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Bristol’s political landscape.

As a communications intern, I helped support communicating the delivery of the Mayor’s priorities to the wider public. From designing graphics and creating videos, I loved how the role gave me the chance to be creative. A highlight from my internship was supporting the Mayor with the high streets engagement programme. The programme gave me the opportunity to visit and interact with local people across of Bristol. It was eye-opening to hear from traders first-hand how the policy and work of local government played a large role in their livelihood.

I was also very grateful to work in a team that was very friendly and supportive. The encouragement from my team gave me the confidence to go outside of my comfort zone. As a result, the experience helped me develop so many transferable skills, such as problem solving, time-management, and teamwork.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time in the Mayor’s Office. I know I will continue to use and develop the skills I have gained in the future. My biggest takeaway is to have confidence in yourself, and I would encourage anyone who is interested to apply in future!

George – Policy Intern

I have had the incredible experience of being a part of the Mayor’s Office and City Office teams working as a Policy intern over the past three months. I did this internship while finishing my master’s in International Relations.

My internship experience has been an incredible introduction to working life. The experience has given me insight into the key issues at the heart of the city alongside a more complete understanding of Bristol’s political landscape and decision-making processes. 

As a policy intern, I helped support the Mayor, Cabinet, and City Office around policy positions, helped organise and support key meetings, liaised with residents plus key stakeholders and undertook detailed research to help take forward the Mayor’s priorities. The highlight of my internship was supporting the Mayor and policy advisors with preparation for Full Council. The experience gave me detailed insight into Bristol’s democratic processes and behind the scenes work that goes into it. I supported officers in the formulation of responses for both the Public Forum and Members’ Forum, it was an incredible experience to be involved with the local decision-making process and democracy in practice.

Another highlight of my internship was working with an incredible team that are hardworking, talented, supportive and the perfect role models for an intern. They created a space for me to develop skills and build my confidence in a professional environment. Everyone is super friendly and made my office experience very enjoyable. I learned so much from watching colleagues operate, their talent and the hard work they put in everyday filters throughout the team.

Overall, my internship experience with the Mayor’s Office and City Office was amazing and invaluable, I developed skills that I will continue to build on and will support me throughout my career. I thoroughly encourage anyone interested to apply for next year.

Octavia – Policy Intern

This summer I was lucky enough to secure a policy internship at Bristol City Council, with my time split between the Mayor’s Office and the City Office. Before completing this internship, I was fresh out of an English degree at the University of Bristol and had no experience in politics or policy. After three months working in these teams, I have a grasp of the political and civic context in which I exist and an understanding of how a city functions, it’s main adversaries, and how politics can be a vehicle for change.

My time spent as a policy intern in both teams was defined by support, learning, and opportunity and I was encouraged to engage with any project or policy that I found interesting, guided by a welcoming and compassionate team. This freedom gave me the chance to interact with policy on a huge range of local, regional, and international issues from the Afghan resettlement programme to the local housing crisis.

One of my biggest takeaways from this internship has been an awareness of the overwhelming complexity of cities. Every new project or policy that I have been introduced to has proved to be more nuanced and multifaceted than I imagined, and more intricately connected to the web of city life than I anticipated. For example, my work supporting the Night Time Economy Adviser taught me about a sector, so much bigger than bars and nightclubs, that affects a third of the population and encompasses all work done and venues active from the hours of 6pm to 6am. Similarly, the work I’ve done with the City Office on the UN Habitat Challenge has revealed the tension between addressing the climate and ecological emergencies and creating affordable housing.

I am unbelievably grateful for the opportunities I have been given, through both of these positions, to be in rooms and to engage with individuals and organisations that I never otherwise could have gained access to. I have been empowered and inspired by the energy of those who have shaped this experience and am delighted to be continuing my learning experience with the City Office for the next six months.