Thursday 01 September 2022
I’m Euan Stock and I’m the new intern at the FDA. I’m writing this as I come towards the end of my second week, and I cannot stress enough how interesting, exciting and varied my time here has been so far. The FDA does important work, and I’m proud to be a part of it.
As a recent graduate in Politics and Modern History, I’ve always held an interest in policy and the impact it has on people. Naturally, this has drawn me towards the public sector and making a real difference to peoples’ lives, and – as has been laid bare recently – trade unions play a vital role in this. On top of this, the last couple of years have made it plain for all to see that it was the flexibility of FDA members and their colleagues that ensured the continued delivery of vital services at a time of unprecedented challenge.
Yet, recognition of this has not always been forthcoming from some in government. I had been closely following the debate around hybrid working prior to applying for this role, and it was clear to me that the politically charged discourse around the issue was often littered with misrepresentations and extremely unhelpful. Upon seeing that the FDA was looking for an intern to work on a project exploring this issue, I thought that the opportunity to support this work represented an exciting and important challenge – one I did not want to pass up.
With all that in mind, it was an easy decision to apply, and I’m grateful to have been successful. And, aside from being important and timely work, I’m enthusiastic about the chances for learning and experience that such a role affords me. In particular, getting first-hand experience of the scale and breadth of work that goes into delivering such a large, public-facing project is something that will no doubt prove valuable for me going forward.
It became clear in my first few days that this really is a huge and varied project. Already, I have been involved in assessing the wider state of play on hybrid work around the world, as well as looking into what the workplace of the future might look like and the challenges that might pose. We are investigating what the public thinks about the issue, and that will form an important strand of our research. What it all comes back to, though, is the FDA’s members. To that end, a lot of time over the next few weeks will be devoted to hearing your views, including through surveys and focus groups. By grounding this work in the experiences of members, I hope that the FDA can make the case to ministers that the needs of employers and employees need not be diametrically opposed – what is good and right for our members is also good for the government.
On a personal note, I am looking to pursue a career in the public sector, and I can’t think of many better places to get a grounding in that than the FDA. I’m looking forward to the challenges of the next few weeks, and, above all, I hope that the eventual report will do right by FDA members.
Euan Stock is the FDA’s 2022 intern