Name: Lydia Edmonds
Job: Deputy Head of the Prime Minister’s Business Team
Office: Downing Street
Hello Lydia! Can you tell us about your career journey to this point?
It was very much course first rather than having any specific career plans. I didn’t know exactly what the end job that I wanted was, but during my GCSEs/A-levels I realised that Politics appealed to me as a course as I was fascinated by the subject. I thought it was a good opportunity to study something I was interested in and enjoyed, but didn’t pigeon-hole me.
I joined a PR agency on a graduate scheme after finishing my degree at Nottingham - there were a number around the country but one in London focussing on corporate and crisis reputation management stood out. It was quite a rigorous application scheme, a bit like The Apprentice!
I was there for 14-15 months, during which time I had started to work with government press offices on joint campaigns and I thought their work was very interesting. I then applied for a Press Officer role at the then Department for Business, via the Civil Service Jobs website.
Tell us where your office is now and what’s your day job?
I work in Downing Street, behind the black door! It’s a buzzy, exciting place to be as there’s always something going on, whether it’s a visiting Head of State, a meeting of the Cabinet or a reception to honour people who achieved incredible things.
The road is actually a few houses knocked together, so you can walk through from Number 11 right to the end of the road. It’s an inspiring place to work, you step outside your office to be greeted by incredible artworks, Winston Churchill’s armchair, the Cabinet Room – it’s a privilege to work in the building.
My job is in the Prime Minister's business team, which, like all teams in Number 10, is a small team mixed of Civil Servants and political appointees - Special Advisers.
Our team exists to connect the Prime Minister with businesses of all sizes, from across the UK and globally. We meet with business to understand their concerns so we can use first-hand knowledge to inform and shape the Government’s work.
Any one day can be a mix of writing advice to go to the Prime Minister, organising an event, meeting with business leaders in sectors as varied as Artificial Intelligence to Agriculture and feeding into policy advice.
Was there one career-defining moment which enabled you to follow your current path?
I think it wasn’t necessarily one ‘defining moment’ but I’ve tried to always say yes when an opportunity presents itself! My mentor said to always seize opportunities when they happen.
Being able to shape your CV in ways you don’t necessarily design enables you to become a more rounded person. It also perhaps helps you try things you wouldn’t have ordinarily had the guts to consider.