In the second in our series about life as a new starter during the pandemic, we talk to Shey Forbes-Taylor in our social media team.
Tell us about your new job and what it involves?
I’m a multimedia producer for the UK Parliament social media channels, including Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. These are some of the biggest social media channels in politics and democracy in the world. I create videos and podcasts for our external audience of over 2.5 million people. I also help to manage the YouTube channel – every week we broadcast Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs) as it happens.
There's a lot to do each week in order to engage and build our community. One of my first projects has been to create content to mark Black History Month at Parliament, including a motion graphic that highlighted Olaudah Equiano’s letter to Lord Hawkesbury.
Why did you apply to join PDS?
My previous job was at the London School of Economics (LSE), creating AI interactive elements and illustrations for social media content. I made a film about the legacy of Sir Arthur Lewis which ended up winning double awards during the LSE Research Festival 2020.
Working at PDS offers me the opportunity to gain more insight and understanding into politics and Parliament. It’s a growing fascination of mine with things like Brexit debates, political engagement, and democratic history. I knew the role would allow me to keep developing my skills in multimedia production, too.
A few years ago, I would have been terrified to apply to such a renowned institution. But I’ve been challenging myself to step out of my comfort zone and I’m thrilled that I did.
How's it been working remotely in a new team?
I couldn’t be happier to join such a friendly, welcoming team. Before I started, my line manager set up some intro chats on Microsoft Teams, so I got to meet everyone. We went through upcoming projects and talked a lot about Parliament life.
We have regular check-ins to see how everyone is doing. I feel I have a good understanding of what everyone does in the team and what is expected of me.
There were a few technical teething issues in the first few days, which is to be expected at any workplace, but it's all looking good now. Getting my kit delivered at home and setting it all up was a new experience and different to when you're in the office.
How have you got to know your team members?
My team manager has been great at scheduling times when we can virtually commune to do nice calming things such as draw animals and other things to switch off from work matters. It’s helped to create a relaxing environment where I can get to know my colleagues in a natural way.
Any tips for other new starters?
Be methodical in your approach to tasks. Go at your own pace. You’re going to be diving in to a place with lots to learn about how Parliament is run, new terminology, security procedures and so on.
Be realistic with yourself and your team about what you can achieve in your first weeks. Give yourself the time and space to enjoy the learning curve, rather than be overwhelmed by it!
It’s a great time to be part of digital in PDS and Parliament. Hear about the transformation taking place at the heart of democracy from Tracey Jessup, our UK Parliament Chief Digital and Information Officer (CDIO).