Published: 11 November 2014

From student to City Councillor

The School of the Arts Press team (SoTA Press) has been learning how University of Liverpool graduate, Lana Orr, made the transition from an English and Philosophy student to a Liverpool City Councillor.

Lana is also a researcher for a local MP and the Mayoral Lead for Reading performance in Merseyside.

How did you break into a career in politics at such a young age?

“My first step was to contact the Labour Party asking if they had anything they could offer me. I got an opportunity to complete an internship for Stephen Twigg, the Labour MP for Liverpool West Derby. Not long after, I was promoted to become Stephen Twigg’s researcher.”

How did the skills you gained from university help further your career in politics?

“My degree has equipped me with research, writing and analytical skills. They are definitely useful in my career especially when I create policies. I have to research and analyse a particular topic, then utilise the findings to write up my policies.”

What would be your advice to students interested in pursuing politics as a career?

“My advice would be to find your niche and really get involved. Don’t be afraid of criticism because they are an inevitable part of politics. If you show great depth and passion, then you will grow stronger and be able to turn those into positives.

“As a councillor you will have no fixed schedule and time management is one of the most important skills; you definitely need to be a ‘doer’.

What is your biggest milestone in your career so far?

“It would definitely be my involvement in the City of Readers in Liverpool. I have worked on this initiative with others since the beginning and I am proud to see it grow and evolve in the way that it has. This is only the beginning and we have big plans for it in the future.”

After all you have achieved, what is your vision for the future?

“My vision would be to take the City of Readers project all the way. I hope that in five to 10 years’ time the project grows and has such an impact on Liverpool that it becomes a starting point for the rest of the country to do the same. I would like to see it expand to other cities, resulting in all primary school children leaving school competent in reading.”

Lana Orr was presenting a lecture at the School of The Arts on how she draws upon her degree in her career in politics; she offered advice to current students who wish to follow a similar route into political life.

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