HSPS second year student Will Bennett shares his summer plans
Name: Will Bennett
Degree course: HSPS
College: Sidney Sussex
Will graduate in: 2020
How did you decide that an internship with the Centre for Social Justice was right for you?
My internship in public policy for the Centre for Social Justice seemed like an ideal contact point between academia and politics. The process of drafting policy relates neatly to the analytical skills of essay writing but focuses more closely on finding solutions over examining problems or symptoms. In this way, public policy can create a path towards different advisory roles or alternatively towards further study. Lots of policy roles involve decision making on a limited set of criteria, but the work of this think tank is quite broad and so I may have the chance to contribute in its different areas of education, communities, addiction and family policy.
What was the application process like for your internship?
After submitting my details and cover letter through an online portal, my suitability was examined using two criteria. My written communication and research skills were tested in a submitted piece of work about a policy recommendation and my understanding and political intuition were tested over the course of an interview. At this stage it was also important that my own views aligned closely with those of the organisation. Fortunately the scope of ‘social justice’ is very wide and the politicization is limited in so far it simply seeks to improve livelihoods. Whereas other think tanks may explicitly support a party or produce recommendations which relate to a specific lobbying issue.
How did you make your application stand out – what relevant experience have you managed to build up so far?
I have no experience in public policy specifically but doing a degree in politics – or anything that relates to ‘social’ science – has been really useful. As the Editor-in-Chief of The Cambridge Student in Easter Term of my first year, I managed the analysis of current political and social affairs and this was probably my most important experience and was the part of my CV I was asked about most. Directing research into the impact of the university’s investments for example has been directly transferable to finding solutions for similar problems. I imagine any role that demonstrates the capacity to solve problems in new ways would be great experience and I know lots of people pursue public policy options after careers in consultancy or similar.