The Legislative Studies and Practice Programme was established in 2009 to provide university graduates with the opportunity to experience working in the Assembly and get a peek behind the curtain of political life in Northern Ireland. The Programme runs in partnership with Queen’s University Belfast and is part of a Master’s qualification in Legislative Studies and Practice. Students contribute fully to the work of their placement office and use their experience to undertake original research leading to the development of a dissertation.
Now in its eighth year, this series is taking a look at the current group of students and finding out how they are adjusting to their placements in the various working environments of the Assembly. Having already heard from Ross Graham in the Bill Office and the students working in the Committees, we now catch up with Jessica Galway and John McCaul who are working in the Assembly’s Research and Information Service (RaISe).
As an East Belfast native, Parliament Buildings and the Stormont Estate were a familiar sight for Jessica. After studying Government and Politics at A-Level and English and Politics at Queen’s University, Jessica gained a greater understanding of what was happening on her doorstep and a desire to find out more. The LSP Programme provided just the opportunity to gain an invaluable insight into the functioning of the Assembly and a chance to put the theory she had learned into practice.
John has studied Modern History and Politics at Queen’s University and, through the British Council NI’s Study USA Programme, also attended Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina. John learned about the LSP Programme from previous alumni and was excited at the prospect of being placed in the Assembly and the chance to enhance his analytical, researching and communication skills.