From meeting new people and working with Vikki’s brilliantly dedicated team, its fair to say I had an interesting and educated week. I spent four days with the assembly member from Aberdare, as she invited me last year to join her for some journalistic and political work experience. However, it proved challenging finding the right time as I was juggling university and my part time job at a supermarket. But following the assembly’s Easter break, I joined Vikki and her team both at her constituency office in the centre of Aberdare, and at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.
Monday 16th April; the day I started with the team. Whilst both nervous and excited for this new experience, I decided to arrive on time. Well, I was half an hour early. I stood outside Vikki’s shop which is opposite to Aberdare’s finest building; the Constitutional Club. Half an hour is indeed a long time to stand outside a shop without people starting to suspect what on earth you’re doing. So, I decided to grab a coffee in Weatherspoon’s. When I got back to the office I was greeted by two lovely women; Jackie and Sue. Both are Vikki’s office support staff that deal with all the constituency issues and matters. I was introduced to their roles and was given a task to complete by the end of the day. To prepare a newsletter for Vikki to send out to primary schools across the Cynon Valley.
Tuesday; time for the Senedd, Cardiff Bay. The heart of Welsh democracy and where Welsh laws are made and debates regarding Welsh issues are held. I’ve been to the Senedd many times, but this was the first time that I entered the Red National Assembly building that sits behind the Senedd. This is where the offices of all assembly members and of course the first minister, are. It contrasted the Aberdare office. This is where the action takes place, where Vikki attends Assembly related events at lunchtime then goes into the chamber to debate in the afternoon. It’s a highly busy environment, with many minsters rushing back and forth to different places. It’s very interesting to see what it is like behind the scenes. In that week, I attended more than three events with Vikki and her assistant Robyn. It was great to see Vikki sponsoring all of these events. I continued with the tasks I was given, including drafting press releases for Vikki’s website. This continued into the Wednesday.
Thursday; my last day with the team. Me and Vikki attended a constituency event in Cilfynydd, Pontypridd. I had the opportunity to meet the housing minister for Wales, Rebecca Evans. We visited a housing shelter for women that are victim to various things such as domestic abuse. It was an eye opener to see the work they do and the support they provide to those young women.
Overall, I had a great time with the team. I thank them for their warm hospitality and wish them all the best for the future.