Hansard is looking for new parliamentary reporters. Do you love language? Have you ever thought about modes of communication, and the difference between the spoken word and the written word? Perhaps you’re a linguist or translator, a philosopher or historian. Maybe even a mathematician. Or none of those things. We don’t mind, as long as you:
- have a strong command of the way the English language works, in all its forms
- can understand and follow complex arguments (even when you don’t necessarily know too much about the subject)
- can search the internet quickly and accurately
- aren’t afraid to ask for help and to assist others—teamwork is everything at Hansard
You don’t need to have studied politics or know much about how Parliament works. You’ll pick that up just by being here. Good general knowledge and an ear for current affairs certainly doesn’t hurt, though. And this is definitely not about being a grammar pedant. It’s about accurately reflecting the content and tone of MPs’ words, and that sometimes means bending the “rules”.
Speaking of rules, you definitely only need to have a strong command of the English language to apply, but bonus points if you’re also a Welsh speaker. We’d love another Welsh-speaking recruit to join our invaluable trio of Welsh-speaking colleagues, including Committee reporter Helen, who has previously blogged about her experiences at Hansard. Please don’t be put off from applying if you don’t speak Welsh though—unsurprisingly, most of us don’t!
Hopefully you’re thinking, “This sounds interesting. When can I apply?” or even “I know someone who would be ideal for this!”
But some of you might be questioning how well equipped you are, even though you love the sound of the job. You might be wondering whether it’s right for you because you don’t know a lot about how Parliament works. If you’re one of those people—don’t worry, we’re not looking for the finished article.
A career at Hansard begins with a comprehensive training course that lasts for six months. The first three months are based in a training room, with frequent visits to the Chambers and Committees of the House of Commons, so you start to become accustomed to every aspect of your new role. During the following three months you’ll be doing the job for real while analysing your own work and getting in-depth feedback. And you’ll get a postgraduate diploma in parliamentary reporting when you pass the course.
What the trainees think
Our most recent recruits had an unusual training experience, as they began during the UK’s third covid-19 lockdown. But that hasn’t prevented them from thriving. Hannah says:
Even though we started at Hansard in the middle of lockdown 3, we’ve still had a great time, getting to explore the parliamentary estate and meeting our new colleagues safely. I’ve learned about loads of things I didn’t anticipate covering, from the Welsh language to how broadcasting works at Parliament Live. Our team of trainees have come from a range of previous jobs—politics, theatre, translation—and it’s been great working together as a team and putting our different experiences to good use.
Sara described the learning environment as “fun and relaxed” and Anna agreed, saying:
There was a lot of support throughout—we got paired with a buddy, who had recently completed the course and they answered any questions we had about the role and working at Hansard. We were also paired with a mentor, who helped us develop our reporting skills.
The first stage of the recruitment process is an application form and proofreading test. If you impress us, we’ll invite you to Parliament to have a go at doing a turn (that’s what we call reporting a small chunk of debate). We know you’re unlikely to be familiar with the process, so we won’t expect your attempt to be perfect. We just want to get a sense of your potential.
Finally, if you make it through those steps, there’s an interview. As well as us getting to know you, that’s a good chance for you to quiz us. We realise that working at Hansard is not the most well-known of careers, so we’re happy to answer the many questions you’ll probably have.
Applications are open from 29 October until 12 November 2021. We look forward to hearing from you. And if the job isn’t for you, but might be of interest to someone you know, please share this post with them.