Everything you need to know about being a parliamentary assistant: studies, salaries…

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A parliamentary assistant, also known as a PA, is a member of the office staff, reporting to the MPs. He works with these political figures to facilitate their work. It is an exciting profession that attracts more and more young people, with or without political ambition. To learn more about this profession, we will explain its missions, its advantages and the studies to be carried out.

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What is a parliamentary assistant?

A parliamentary assistant or PA is, as the name suggests, an assistant to a member of parliament. He accompanies and assists the person concerned in his tasks and duties. A parliamentary assistant plays an important role in parliament. He works for various political parties and is responsible for the party agenda in his constituency.

He provides a valuable service to MPs by ensuring that everything runs smoothly in the parliamentary buildings. PAs perform important tasks during parliamentary sessions.

When MPs leave office, parliamentary assistants are responsible for keepingthe minutes of the proceedings. They keep files that collect official documents concerning the bills under consideration.

What are the missions of a parliamentary assistant?

Each Member of Parliament generally employs two parliamentary assistants who assist them full-time in constituency matters. Their duties include research, constituency office management and press operations. General administration, policy formulation and implementation are also included in the list.

At committee meetings and other events, they act as archivists and ensure accurate transcripts. They collect and store important records, such as minutes and meeting notes. Documents on bills under consideration are also affected. They organize and file copies of the bill before it is submitted.

Legislative assistants are responsible for distributing these copies to legislators who vote on each bill.

Qualities and skills needed to be a good parliamentary assistant.

Parliamentary assistants play a key role in their departments. To be the best in this business, you must learn quickly, have integrity, honesty and organization. You must be able to follow the ever-changingpolicy and procedures of the parliament. The political subject matter is sensitive, so you must be able to use discretion.

On the other hand, an effective parliamentary assistant has a strong political background. Communication and negotiation skills are also necessary. A parliamentary assistant must understand social-political and economic issues. Knowing how to manage several tasks simultaneously can be an advantage.

The parliamentary assistant must be able to work calmly, even under pressure. He/she has a good knowledge of parliamentary procedures and rules. The ability to cooperate and delegate tasks is one of the required qualities.

What are the benefits of being a parliamentary assistant?

If you are considering becoming a parliamentary assistant, it is important to understand the benefits that come with the position. It is an exciting job with significant privileges.

As a parliamentary assistant, you are involved in a wide range of activities. You are multidisciplinary and versatile, which makes the work dynamic and exciting. This includes participation in cabinet meetings, parliamentary procedure and the drafting of bills. You are required to attend lobbying events.

Parliamentary assistants also advise MPs on how best to use their skills and knowledge to improve the lives of the public. This work is, therefore, a way to participate in favorable and important changes.

Parliamentary assistants are able to develop close relationships with ministers and other political figures. They are brought into contact with important politicians, which improves their networking. These enriching experiences allow you to grow in your work.

Parliamentary assistants have a direct impact on the efficiency of parliament. Their advice and input is invaluable and their work helps to bring important legislation to fruition.

Parliamentary assistant: salary and career development

Parliamentary assistants earn a salary based on their experience and qualifications. The salary is generally between €25,000 and €45,000 per year. Over the years, they can earn up to €60,000 gross per year.

Legislative assistants also receive generous benefits, including health insurance, paid time off and a retirement savings plan.

There are many opportunities for a parliamentary assistant. You can work for MPs in any political party. You also have the opportunity to work for a non-political organization. Working for a constituency office is also an option.

You can aspire to a political position if you are interested. To further your career, it is possible to work for a prominent political figure. You then become chief of staff and later on, you can apply for the position of chief of staff.

How to become a parliamentary assistant?

In order to serve in parliament, specialized training is required. A bachelor’s degree is sufficient, but more and more parties require a bachelor’s degree. The diplomas and courses to follow to become a parliamentary assistant are :

  • a bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Political Science;
  • a degree in Political Science;
  • a degree in Law ;
  • an MSc in Strategic Studies, Security & Defense Policy.

These programs are available at the prestigious school HEIP or Hautes Études Internationales et Politiques.

Updated 12 March 2024