Eden Barnes

How a sandwich year at the University of Hull led to Eden Barnes walking the corridors of 10 Downing Street

Very few people in their lives will have the chance to see behind the imposing black door of 10 Downing Street.

Fewer still will have an insight into Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s busy schedule of events and visits.

But for University of Hull graduate Eden Barnes, what would be a mystery to many has become a regular day in the office.

Since graduating from the University in 2016, the former Law and Legislative Studies student has risen through the ranks of Government and politics, and is now a Visits Officer for the Prime Minister.

Wherever the PM goes, Eden is there a day before, carefully planning out the visit and helping manage Mr Johnson’s busy schedule.

But how did it all start?

Eden said: “I am from across the Humber Bridge in Lincolnshire originally, and heard about the course at the University and importantly, the sandwich year it offered.

“I spent my sandwich year working at the Conservative Party CCHQ (Conservative Campaign Headquarters), and that led to securing a job after University with them.

“I worked in events at CCHQ until the end of 2017, and at that point I realised I didn’t want just party politics on my CV, so I moved into the Civil Service working at HM Treasury as an Events and Media Manager.

“It was the end of last year when I was invited to join the team at Number 10 as a Visits Officer.”

Hull was my first choice because of the sandwich year and if you’re thinking about it, I would say come to Hull, because it has a great vibe about it. I really loved it Eden Barnes, University of Hull graduate

Eden is now part of a team which helps to communicate the Prime Minister’s domestic priorities agenda, arrange visits and ensure trips run smoothly.

Her role takes her far and wide to all corners of the country and beyond – recently, Eden travelled to Berlin with the Prime Minister to accompany him on his visit.

Eden said: “Anywhere the PM goes, we go in advance and we are also there when the PM is there. It is about how we communicate the PM’s agenda and policy announcements.

“In a hypothetical situation, if the PM was to announce £100m investment into technology, we would find suitable places for him to visit and make it happen.

“Being a Civil Servant is really interesting because you’re politically neutral but you’re there to serve whoever is in power and to enact their agenda.”

Eden reflected on her time at the University of Hull, and the platform it provided her to reach the highest levels of government.

“Having a sandwich year as part of my degree and being able to have it on my CV was invaluable. Some of the work I did was fairly basic, but trying out different things meant I could refine what I was good at and realise what I enjoyed, which was event management.

“I fully put that sandwich year down to where I am today, without it I do not think I would be where I am now.

“You have got to think outside the box of what you can do with a law and politics degree. I quickly realised I was not going to be a barrister or a solicitor, and had to think about where my skills could take me.

“Hull was my first choice because of the sandwich year and if you’re thinking about it, I would say come to Hull, because it has a great vibe about it. I really loved it – I loved the smaller community feel, met some brilliant people who I am still great friends with today.”

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