Mike Sips participated on the Practicum in International Organisations as part of his master's degree in MA Global Governance and Public Policy. He spent his six months' work placement at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment in The Hague.
Here Mike talks to us about a conference he helped to organise as part of the rotating presidency of the EU and what he learnt from the experience.
What did your work at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment involve, and what did you most enjoy about it?
As I worked at the Department for Occupational Health and Safety, the main focus of my work was how to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for employees.
As the Netherlands holds the Presidency of the Council of the EU, I was involved in organising a conference to ensure healthy working conditions were placed as a priority on their agenda. The conference specifically focused on the prevention of work-related cancer and encouraged sharing of best practice and knowledge.
I really enjoyed this as I had the opportunity to speak to many different stakeholders and learn a lot about organising such a huge event. After the conference, I worked on more policy-related tasks such as preparing meetings and helping with several subsidy projects.
How has the experience supported your studies at Middlesex?
This experience has definitely enriched my studies at Middlesex. By putting theory into practice, I have gained a better understanding of concepts such as globalisation and international relations.
How will/has the Practicum helped you in terms of preparing you for life beyond your studies?
At the Ministry, I improved my writing and organisational skills. I have also had the opportunity to develop soft skills such as communication — skills that will be very useful in my life beyond Middlesex University. Employers often ask for work experience, so I can tick that box!
What are your plans now you are nearing the end of your course?
I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do. I’m torn between doing a traineeship with the Dutch government and working for an NGO like Cordaid, Unicef or the Red Cross where the focus is much more international.
From September 2016, MA Global Governance and Public Policy will be replaced by MA Global Governance and Sustainable Development.