Chris Hares is the Campaigns Manager at Intern Aware. He was a brilliant part of the Bootcamp 2 cohort. Chris has previously worked at the charity Future First and campaigned at KCLSU and with the Labour Party.
Q: Sum up your experience of Bootcamp in 3 words
Raised my game.
Q: Tell us about a campaign/project you’ve run/been involved in since Bootcamp?
I am the Campaigns Manager for Intern Aware, a national campaign for fair internships. We have been working with just about everyone – Government, MPs, trade organisations, universities, businesses, students, graduates – to try and develop a fair system for internships.
A strategy we used recently was to work closely with an MP (in this case one of our few Conservative MP supporters, Alec Shelbrooke) to put forward a ‘Ten Minute Rule Motion’ to the House of Commons to close one of the legal ambiguities that fuels this issue. This wouldn’t achieve our objective of changing the law outright, but it would move us a huge step closer. We emailed every MP in Parliament about the debate and why they should support it, held meetings with key stakeholders from the three major parties and pitched press releases on the debate to a range of journalists. The idea was to create a buzz about the motion, as the issue had never been formally debated in the Chamber.
The result took us by surprise – these motions are not usually voted on but due to opposition, MPs were given that chance. We won that vote 181-19 with strong cross-party support, which was a fantastic and slightly unexpected win. When it comes to MPs, you never do know! We have begun to build on that now to show how all three parties can make a promise to end unpaid internships in their election manifestos for 2015.
Q: What was the most useful thing you learnt/took away from Bootcamp?
For my campaigning, I now have a lot more skill in planning detailed campaigns. I will admit that some of my previous campaigning had been ad hoc, but Campaign Bootcamp gave me the skills to understand how my ideas could fit into the wider aims of the organisation and which tactics could create the best win.
In my life, I’ve become a lot more self-aware and reflective. I’m not normally someone that stops to consider these things but Bootcamp helped me to see the value in it. It has gone a long way to improving my campaigning.
Q: What would you say to someone considering applying to Bootcamp
Before I applied, I thought I was a pretty good campaigner and I’d had some reasonable success. What Bootcamp has done for me, is to take me to the next level. Whether you have little experience of campaigning or feel like you need to hone your skills, this is the family you need to join.
And it is a family. I’ve made some great friends and contacts who have helped me so much with the campaign (and I hope I’ve helped them too). This is a genuine community, which is all too rare in the often isolated world of campaigning!
If you know of fellow campaigners leading the way on important issues like unpaid internships, encourage them to join the Bootcamp family too. They can apply to join us on October’s Bootcamp here.