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MSP to pay local pupil as an intern

Evening Times:

Stewart Paterson, Political Correspondent / / News

Published / News

Senior pupils in Glasgow schools are been offered the opportunity to work at the Scottish Parliament, and get paid for it.

James Dornan, Cathcart SNP MSP, is organising a competition where pupils will be able to win a paid internship assisting him and his staff at Holyrood.

The competition will be open to four secondary schools in his constituency, Castlemilk High, Hillpark Secondary, King's Park Secondary and St Margaret Mary's Secondary.

Many MSPs use interns in the Parliament and posts are highly sought after, but most are unpaid and many come from abroad, with students from North America a popular choice.

However, Mr Dornan said: "I wanted to do something for young people in the constituency.

"It is an opportunity to experience what goes on in the Parliament and will add value to their CV.

"I think this is the first of its kind in the Parliament but don't think it will be the last."

Mr Dornan said he expects to be choosing from a high-quality field of applicants with the successful candidate doing the full range of tasks his staff do.

They will assist in writing motions and parliamentary questions and deal with constituency matters.

The competition is open to pupils in S5 and S6 in the four schools and those on a shortlist will be invited to write an essay and then be interviewed by a panel of headteachers from the schools and Mr Dornan.

The winner will carry out 36 hours of work over 12 weeks to fit around their studies, which the MSP said will take priority.

Mr Dornan said he hopes the internship will be offered on an annual basis.

The practice of unpaid internships at the Parliament has been criticised for only being available to those who can afford to carry out work for free, which favours young people from wealthy families.

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