Press and Media Officer at The House of Lords

Aneela Mahmoon Alumni 2

It was while on an A Level Politics trip to the Houses of Parliament, that Aneela found herself thinking, “I want to work here one day” little knowing that she would realise her dream and she now works as a press and media officer in the House of Lords. Here she talks about her career path to the second-largest legislative chamber in the World*.

*The largest legislative chamber in the World is the Chinese National People’s Congress of China with 2,980 members, recorded in 2018.

At Esher 2007-2009

School: Three Rivers Academy

Subjects studied: Philosophy, Politics and Psychology

Why did you choose a sixth form college?

Firstly, it was the wider range of courses that were available. I also wanted to be in a slightly different, more mature environment compared to school. For me, there was a greater sense of independence in going to college, and a good stepping stone between school and university.

What was the first thing that struck you about Esher?

The atmosphere – it’s just a lovely place all-in-all.

What were your course highlights at Esher?

Visiting Parliament on a 6.2 politics trip! It was during that visit I decided I wanted to work in Westminster one day. I ended up taking a bit of a roundabout way, but with that goal always in mind, I made it in the end!

How did your teachers inspire you?

I’ll have to give my Politics teacher, Meir, a shout-out here. At the time he wasn’t my favourite teacher by any means (sorry!), and if I remember correctly, he even suggested I drop his course – a completely fair comment given the terrible student I was to begin with! However, that encouraged me to apply myself (talk about reverse psychology), he pushed me and helped me to achieve what I was capable of – stern, but always supportive. I started the course barely knowing the names of the different political parties, and by the end of that year I achieved an A in the exams. I always had a vague interest in politics, but Meir’s course laid the foundation for what would eventually become my career path. The knowledge you gain during this time will always come in handy.

What were your career plans for life after Esher?

Other than politics, I was very interested in humanitarian work. I wanted to work for the UN or an NGO. Whilst that didn’t happen, I did spend some years working in the charity sector before moving to my current role.

What was your university/career path after Esher?

I went to Goldsmiths, University of London, where I studied History and Anthropology. History has always been a passion of mine and I was fairly certain I would do it at degree level, hence I skipped out on it for A Levels, as I wanted to use the opportunity to explore some other subjects. After completing my bachelor’s, I wasn’t quite ready to leave education, partly because I had no idea where to go from there! I ended up staying at Goldsmiths to study politics once more by doing a Master’s in International Studies.

What have been your career highlights so far?

The day I got the call with the job offer for my current role. It felt like a long time coming and it was one of the happiest days of my life thus far. I couldn’t possibly list all the highlights of this job – everyday still feels like a dream. Being involved in the State Opening of Parliament was very special though. I was assisting the BBC in conducting interviews with MPs!

What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?

Just focus on your education, you won’t get this time back! I wish I had pushed myself harder in all my subjects and used my full potential. Having said that, I got to where I was going, so no need to have regrets.

On a more positive note, I know my 16-year-old self would be proud of where I am today, and I would say just keep striving and be fearless in the pursuit of your dreams. Nothing is out of reach.