The John Smith Public Service Award
John Smith Public Service Awardees at the Scottish Parliament
The John Smith Public Service Award is a two-year professional development programme offered in partnership with The Robertson Trust.
Designed for Robertson Scholars, the programme promotes the value of a public service vocation through a two-year programme of activities. This includes a 10-week Parliamentary Internship with an MSP in Scotland and a full-time, 3-week placement with an MP, part of which will be spent at the Houses of Parliament at Westminster. The Awardees are paid above the Living Wage for their internships.
The Awardees also have access to personal and professional development and networking opportunities. Last year Awardees attended events organised by the John Smith Trust alongside John Smith Trust Fellows, including a talk from John Smith's former Chief Policy Adviser, David Ward, and a reception held at Baroness Smith's home in Edinburgh.
The inaugural John Smith Public Service Awardees will complete the programme in December 2020.
The Centre is delighted to offer the John Smith Public Service Award in partnership with The Robertson Trust. The second cohort was recruited in Autumn 2019 and are currently completing their Parliamentary Internships.
Catherine Smith, Chair of the John Smith Centre said:
"The Centre promotes politics as a positive force, and an effective vehicle for change. We are committed to widening access to allow everyone a chance to serve. We are thrilled to be working with The Robertson Trust to give Robertson Scholars the opportunity to develop their skills by experiencing vital frontline public service roles."
The Award is part of The Robertson Trust’s Career Pathways initiative, which seeks to increase the opportunities for Robertson Scholars to gain immersive experience in their chosen careers and enable them to secure good graduate positions.
Gordon Hunt, Head of Scholarship and Learning at The Robertson Trust, said:
"The Centre and the Trust share a strong belief in the value and importance of public service and we are excited by the opportunity this provides to our Scholars to develop their skills and experience with support from leading politicians and public servants."
Meet the Awardees
Megan is currently studying Social and Public Policy and Statistics at the University of Glasgow.
Megan used advocacy from Who Cares? Scotland whilst living in the Care system as a child and became a Trustee of the charity in 2015. Since then she has campaigned to make radical change to ensure a lifetime of equality, respect and love for all care experienced people. She hopes to join the civil service in the future.
Megan says "I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to be able to learn from experts about elevating citizen’s voices to create meaningful change. I am proudly part of a movement working to ensure all care experienced people, a group suffering some of the worst outcomes in our society, experience equality, respect and love. I feel incredibly excited to be starting the internship and determined to use everything I learn from the experience to make the biggest impact I can towards this mission for future generations."
Megan also enjoys exploring new cities and crime dramas.
Host MSP: Maurice Golden MSP - Conservatives
Zainab is a student at the University of St Andrews. She is originally from Sudan, and moved to Scotland in 2005 when she was 10 years old. Zainab has long been interested in community work and has recently worked to raise awareness of, and tackle, FGM in Scotland. She hopes to work in development or human rights after university.
Zainab says: "I'm very excited to be accepted on to this award as it will open up new opportunities for me to gain first hand experience and insight into the world of politics, something which has previously felt somewhat inaccessible."
In her spare time, Zainab enjoys reading, writing, cooking and yoga.
Host MSP: Joe FitzPatrick MSP - SNP
Jordan is a second year student at the University of St Andrews, where he is studying International Relations. He is originally from Livingston and has a keen interest in Politics.
Jordan says, "Receiving the John Smith Award opens doors that would have been hard to open. I'll be able to gain a unique experience working in both Holyrood and Westminster. The networks and opportunities this will provide will be life-changing."
In his spare time, Jordan enjoys reading fiction and non-fiction and listens to a wide variety of music. He is also an active member of his university’s debating society.
Host MSP: Willie Rennie MSP - Liberal Democrats
Ross is originally from Glenrothes and is currently studying International Relations and Management at the University of St Andrews. He is enthusiastic about public service and is a former Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament.
Ross says: "During my internship I hope to learn more about casework and how MSPs divide their time between Parliament and their constituency or region. I would also like to look at how elected representatives work with the civil service and parliamentary staff."
In his spare time, Ross loves to cycle, learning languages and travelling.
Host MSP: Willie Rennie MSP - Liberal Democrats
Robyn is a first year Law student at the University of Glasgow, and is originally from Dundee.
Robyn says "I'm very excited to begin my Parliamentary Internship and continue to develop my communication and networking skills. I look forward to helping my host MSP continue to make a difference in their area, and to helping improve constituents' lives however I can."
Robyn is very interested in politics, and is also passionate about music and film, and enjoys taking part in local activism.
Host MSP: Nicola Sturgeon MSP - SNP