Jeff Riley

Recent Posts

The Power of Food

Posted by Jeff Riley on 2 June 2015

Niki Psarias is a campaigns consultant who has developed a particular focus on food within international aid and development. Currently she is leading two campaigns on behalf of the NGO The Hunger Project UK – “Live Below the Line” and “World Hunger Day”. We spoke to Niki about her campaigns, her work as a consultant, and how she has developed her career. (Read an earlier blog about The Hunger Project UK)

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Topics: Peace, Politics and Policy, international development

How To Work In International Development

Posted by Jeff Riley on 27 May 2015

Maϊa Gedde is a Country Manager for Spark, a Dutch NGO working in entrepreneurship and job creation in post conflict countries. Her new book, ‘How To Work In International Development and Humanitarian Assistance: a Career Guide’ has just been published by Routledge – April 2015 (use the code FLR40 to get a discount). Maϊa interviewed us when researching her book and, since publication, we have spoken to her by Skype in Rwanda about her background in the sector and how she came to write the book.

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Topics: international development

The Power of Food

Posted by Jeff Riley on 20 May 2015

Niki Psarias is a campaigns consultant who has developed a particular focus on food within international aid and development. Currently she is leading two campaigns on behalf of the NGO The Hunger Project UK – “Live Below the Line” and “World Hunger Day”. We spoke to Niki about her campaigns, her work as a consultant, and how she has developed her career. (Read an earlier blog about The Hunger Project UK)

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Topics: international development

Finance and Foreign Affairs

Posted by Jeff Riley on 13 May 2015

A note on Fiona Richardson’s blog over at King’s College London about an investment bank recruiting students with an interest in foreign affairs prompts me to remind readers of a number of posts over the last few years that showcase a number of politics students creating careers in the City and financial services.

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Topics: Peace, Politics and Policy, Business and Finance, international development

Paid Internships with Graduate Gateway

Posted by Jeff Riley on 12 May 2015

With some students being asked to pay thousands of Pounds for internships we thought it especially timely that we spoke to Helen Kenny one of the consultants in a new organisation, Graduate Gateway, that is providing paid internships in London in the public and private sector.

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Topics: Jobs and Internships, international development

Careers in Political Campaigning

Posted by Jeff Riley on 23 March 2015

The arena of political campaigning and public affairs has an increasing prominence. One reflection of this has been the introduction of the controversial Lobbying Act by the coalition government. Another is the increasing number of postgraduate and vocational courses that provide a platform for those considering or developing a career in the sector. Postgraduate courses are available under the umbrella of public affairs, public policy or communications. Courses will often include a practical placement – these could be in Westminster or even Brussels, with consultancies or with companies depending on the focus of the course. You don’t necessarily need a Masters level qualification though to get started in the sector and many Masters courses are aimed at those already in the sector. We spoke to Jamie Hewitt, Director of Campaigner Academy about careers in the sector and how Campaigner Academy can help.

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Topics: international development

Careers In Campaigning

Posted by Jeff Riley on 19 March 2015

A couple of opportunities for those interested in finding our more about campaigning

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Topics: Peace, Politics and Policy, international development

Some opportunities

Posted by Jeff Riley on 17 March 2015

The latest student conference on International Development took place on Saturday 14 March 2015 at the University of Bristol. Congratulations to the Student Hubs team who organised the event that put together an array of speakers and exhibitors. They underline for me what an excellent place the UK is for establishing a career in International Development. Also how important it is to take advantage of these kinds of events which are great places for learning about the sector and hearing of opportunities you may not otherwise be aware of. Here are some of my personal highlights from the event.

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Topics: international development

Understanding ModernGov - vacancy

Posted by Jeff Riley on 14 January 2015

One theme that runs like a ribbon through this blog is the range of opportunities available for students with an interest and background in politics. Understanding ModernGov, is a training organisation that runs courses on government and policy topics. Everything from understanding the Scottish Parliament,freedom on information requests, inspecting independent schools and the digital marketplace for the public sector. Now they are looking for an 'Account Executive' to help in the day to day running of these courses.

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Topics: Peace, Politics and Policy, international development

From Politics To Business Advisory

Posted by Jeff Riley on 12 January 2015

Thanks to my colleague Jeff Riley for this post from his blog Getting into International Development

I spoke to Maria Degn, a Queen Mary University of London alumni who, after completing her MSc in International Public Policy in 2014, took up a paid advisory internship with Grant Thornton, a professional services firm. We talked to her about how her background in politics was a launchpad for her career (she has since been appointed as a full time associate).

Maria, you’re Danish so why did you come to London for your Masters course? Well for most Danish politics graduates taking a Masters in London is like a finishing school. London universities in general and places like the LSE have a high profile and reputation. I chose Queen Mary because I was particularly interested in International Public Policy and the Department had been highly recommended to me.

What caught your eye about the Grant Thornton internship? While I didn’t know much, if anything, about Grant Thornton initially the internship role was eye-catching because it was called ’The Future Leaders Programme’ in the Government & Infrastructure Advisory department. I quickly saw that there were lots of connections between my interest in politics, wanting to see the big picture economically and politically and wanting to work in a practical way. The Business Growth Service delivered by the Government & Infrastructure Advisory have a significant effect on SME business growth and we are therefore at the heart of the government’s agenda for accelerating the growth of the SME market. Lots of our work is funded by the UK government – primarily the Business, Innovation and Skills department. They are looking to support SMEs overcome barriers to growth.

How did your academic background prepare you for the work? I knew a little bit about consultancy work because I had worked as a messenger in a consultancy in Denmark but I didn’t have a commercial background and no work experience in the UK. However, my studies helped because I had developed research and analytical skills. Also I was able to use my writing skills to help me structure reports. You also get a good sense of how the economy and society works.

Can you say a little more about your work? The Future Leaders Programme is a six months internship where I have been given the possibility to work with different teams. We help SMEs to overcome their barriers to growth. I have been working with the Analytics team for example supporting internal and external research and the Stakeholder Management team learning how to build and maintain relationships with important stakeholders. Another rotation was in the Business Development team with a focus on access to finance. Many SMEs may flag up the fact that they need access to finance but are blocked because banks won’t give them a loan. In this case we would be able to flag up a range of private finance. We know about this market and can broker meetings between investors and the SME. We can also help SMEs make their pitch for funding. How to make sure they present their work in an interesting way, what grants and awards they may have received, what investment angle they take with potential investors. Other barriers might be around marketing or developing their business through new products.

Another area of work is around the processes underpinning the support programmes which I in particular was exposed to at my work with the Manufacturing Advisory Service team. We may for example have to provide information about the different sectors our clients are working in. Or create a stakeholder management plan identifying the key players in a given sector.

In addition to the rotations I have also had the opportunity to be responsible for my own client in the Growth Immersion Project where we have gained invaluable experience through supporting our partner business. We have been to different personal development sessions such as coaching as well as being participating in Business Growth Academies where we learn about different commercial aspects such as branding, innovation and incubation. It has not only been day to day work but also a lot of personal development and experience.

Is the programme what you expected? It has exceeded my expectations – I have been surprised how much it has been possible for me to develop and learn in just six months. You get actual responsibility and experience as well as the company invest in developing you on both a personal and professional level. We’ve even moved offices from Euston to Finsbury Square so I’m nearer where I live. The training programme has been really good with workshops and visits to organisations. Most recently, for example, to Ravensbourne College on digital creativity. Finally, of course, I’ve been offered a permanent position and can start planning a future in London – in the long term I might want to do an MBA or professional qualifications.

Read more about Grant Thornton Internships at https://trainees.grant-thornton.co.uk/programmes/internships

And another useful site is https://trainees.grant-thornton.co.uk/future-leaders-internship

Deadlines for internships are not available yet but watch this space.

 

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Topics: Peace, Politics and Policy

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