Claire Hazelgrove is Community & Political Engagement Director at TPXimpact and Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Filton and Bradley Stoke.
She talks about her time at Bath, studying a MSc Public Policy.
Tell us about your career
I’ve been campaigning from a young age, having been involved with the Make Poverty History Campaign when I was still in school back in 2005. I've always worked at the intersection between the public and institutions that can make change happen at scale, because I think both aspects of that really matter. I’m a Labour parliamentary candidate and I also work to support local government, regional government and charities all over the country in effective community engagement.
Throughout my career, I have done a lot of work with policy, but I hadn’t been involved in the shaping of it and that was the part that I really wanted to learn more about. I looked around at the type of courses that were out there. I'm a practitioner, so when I saw the MSc Public Policy at Bath was designed around people who are working full time, it really appealed to me.
Why did you choose a master’s degree at Bath?
I didn't want to step out of my practice - I wanted to stay at the cutting edge, but I also wanted to learn more. With this course, it was very clear that it was a practical, applied degree.
An aspect that really jumped out to me was the in-person residentials on campus, where we would get to know the cohort and teaching staff and that felt really exciting.
Another element I particularly liked was the public policy portfolio option within the degree, which was really different from any other course I saw anywhere in the country. I could see this course was going to stretch and test me in ways that would be relevant to the path that I'm on, in seeking to shape policy, so that felt really relevant.
How did the course help you develop professionally?
The course is rigorous and thorough. It really enabled me to think through not just the theory and the policymaking theory, but also the practical realities.
A master’s wasn’t necessary for career progression for me - and it absolutely isn’t for anyone wanting to get involved in politics - but that wasn't really my goal. For me, it was really useful studying and thinking about how to apply and critique policy.
I found it really helpful learning how to articulate and link the intent of policy coming out of government with the goals and ideology. Having a more thorough, in-depth understanding of the different levers that policymakers have and the trade-offs and constraints, was really valuable.