Last year I attended ALDC (the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors and Campaigns) Kickstart weekend as part of their Future Leaders scheme.
15 or so young people in the party are offered individual mentorship to help them get to where they want to be in the party - whether that is an MP, a Councillor, or something else.
And then they attend their choice of wider training sessions on campaigning alongside the other attenders of Kickstart. There are huge range of courses – such as on how to find volunteers, how to use data for your campaigning, and social media masterclass. The courses are also divided up into beginners, intermediate and advanced so you can go to the course that’s best pitched to you.
Our Future Leaders cohort was divided up into groups depending on how they wanted to be a future leader. I said I wanted to work for the party.
Having said this, I sat one-to-one with one of the trainers and discussed my current job, my previous experiences working for the Liberal Democrats, the different jobs the party offers, and what else I should be looking at doing to build up my CV.
Over the rest of the weekend - I was introduced to many brilliant people, especially brilliant women, and learned about their party roles.
I sat down with party staff in the bar one evening and talked through where I wanted to be - and got yet more advice.
Thanks to this advice and the networking I got to do at Kickstart, six months later I have a job in the membership team in Lib Dem HQ.
And this year I return to Kickstart as a trainer.
Not enough people know about the fantastic training the party runs. I've been very lucky to benefit from a run of great weekend training courses. Future Leaders, being at Kickstart, means that it is also attended by the best campaigners in the party and that there are so many people to speak to about advice for your future.
Now I work for the party - I know that we are always on the lookout for talent, and so often it's a case of there being more opportunities for the people we have come across. Standing up, being present, being clear that you are ready to stand for office or you want a job or whatever it is - this is how to get what you want.
Future Leaders is a perfect opportunity to get noticed, to attend some of the best training in the party for free, and to build relationships with key campaigners.
Apply to be a Future Leader at the next weekend here: https://www.aldc.org/2018/06/could-you-be-a-future-leader-2/
Or apply to Kickstart here: https://www.aldc.org/events/