My Bristol Strive internship journey

Mayor Marvin Rees is pictured second in from the right. smiling, stood alongside Strive interns.
Today’s guest blog is from Najma Ali, 2023 Strive intern for the Mayor of Bristol’s Office

I recently had the privilege of completing an internship in the Mayor of Bristol’s Office, through the Strive Internship Programme. Strive was set up in 2021, as a partnership between Bristol City Council, Hargreaves Lansdown, and the University of the West of England. It offers paid work experience placements (75 so far) to Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic university students across 25 key organisations in the West of England.

I found out about this opportunity from a friend who was also applying, she mentioned there was an opportunity to work at Bristol City Council. I was interested in working at the council because of my interest in policy making and the priorities of the Mayor’s administration.

The application process was to fill out a form. Then when your application form was approved, you were allowed to pick three places that you would preferably intern at. Once you were placed at the organisation, you completed the interview process and awaited your results.

Mayor Marvin Rees is pictured, smiling speaking at the Strive intern closing event.

During my time at the office I had the opportunity to engage in a variety of tasks and projects. Every task I undertook, deepened my understanding of local governance and its impact on Bristol’s residents. Even things that I would not have given much thought to in the past. The Mayor’s Office gave me a comprehensive view on the city and where it was going, whether that was strategic planning, Full Council meetings, or liaising with external partners and key city-wide organisations.

My work in supporting the office in liaising with a business regarding a traffic regulation order (TROs) highlighted the complexities of city politics and business operating, trying to find an effective compromise. That experience it illustrated how multidimensional one situation can be. It highlighted the importance of being an effective communicator, in order to bridge the gap of potential misunderstanding.

Moreover, one aspect that struck me during my time was the office’s unwavering commitment to inclusiveness and fostering community engagement. Witnessing the relentless efforts put into various initiatives to uplift marginalised voices and promote inclusivity has reinforced my belief in the power of local government to effect positive change.

The Mayor’s Office is a true hub of knowledge and expertise, and I was fortunate to work alongside individuals who are genuinely committed to making a difference. Their mentorship, guidance, and encouragement have been instrumental in my personal growth during this internship. I leave this experience with newfound confidence in my abilities and a deeper understanding of the immense responsibilities that come with public service.

My experience with the Strive Internship programme is one that genuinely has changed my life. I know it’s the same for all my colleagues who also undertook the experience in other organisations. I recommend that anyone that is looking for opportunities to make their next career move, take a look at this amazing programme.

I am excited to continue on this journey of civic engagement, inspired by leadership and the incredible work being done here in Bristol.

The Strive interns are pictured at the 2023 Strive Internship closing event, hosted at Bristol City Hall.