Image of Luke Young

Politics, BA (Hons), 2009

Head of Communications for Welsh Labour

How did you end up at Swansea University?

I attended an Open Day- the sun was blazing, the beach across the road was calling, and I knew it was the place for me. The Politics Department also came highly recommended.

What were the best things about your course?

Meeting people with different opinions, backgrounds and values to mine.

It helped broaden my horizons and gain a deeper understanding of what influences our belief systems. I also enjoyed the chance to learn about international politics and the institutions set up to manage tensions and conflict.

During my third year, I was able to take a placement at the National Assembly for Wales as part of my research project into economic development in the South Wales Valleys.

What are you favourite memories from your time at Swansea? 

Fresher's year living in Preseli with people who have become lifelong friends. Whenever we get back together it's like picking up where we left off.

Winning the election for SU President is a highlight as I was able to celebrate with all my mates and dance like fools on the stage in Divas.

Being a World Record Breaking Smurf - we had the biggest nights out and the memories to go along with it.

What did you do after graduation? How did you end up in your current role?

After graduation I served two terms as SU President (2009-2011) - a role that taught me so much. It gave me a strong grounding in team work, influencing and politics that I use to this day. In 2011, I was elected President of the National Union of Students in Wales.

After my student days, I joined LGBT+ campaigning charity Stonewall Cymru, where I worked with teachers, pupils and schools to tackle homophobic and other types of bullying. I also built up the Campaigns, Policy and Research Team, leading high profile action around votes for Equal Marriage and anti-discrimination campaigns.

In 2016, I went to work in the Senedd/ Welsh Parliament for a newly elected Member supporting their policy agenda on the economy and infrastructure, skills, equalities, further and higher education, co-operatives, devolution and Brexit.

In 2018, I joined the Senior Management Team of Welsh Labour, where I lead the communications team and press office. Most recently, I was Deputy Campaign Director for the successful re-election campaign for the Welsh Labour Government, returning Mark Drakeford as First Minister of Wales.

Were you a member of any student societies? Did you take advantage of any other opportunities? 

SU President and SU General Secretary.
Chair of Swansea Labour Students.
Member of Raise and Give.
Occasional member of the LGBT+ society.

Where are you working now?  To what extent has your Swansea experience helped you progress/achieve your career aspirations?

Head of Communications at Welsh Labour

My Swansea Experience taught me so much about team work, influencing and campaigning. As a student officer, I spent a lot of time lobbying the university for things that students wanted. I learned to be pragmatic and also to understand the pressures on other people when trying to negotiate. Those skills are crucial in politics if you want to get anything done to help people.

What is a typical day like in your job or what are the most exciting things about your job?

There are lots of meetings, but outside of that you get to support the message of building a greener, fairer, stronger Wales. My job is to help the public see how the party is working hard to do the things we said we would at election time - whether that's 100,000 new apprenticeships, building more homes, creating new green jobs or creating a new curriculum that lets young people in Wales grow up happier, healthier and without limits to their ambition.

What advice would you give to anyone considering studying at Swansea?

Mentally prepare yourself for shorts and flip flops being worn in mid-winter.

Use the opportunity to break out of your comfort zone and join a student society or sports team. Join a few and see where your passion takes you. Academic work is important but it's one part of it - use your time in Swansea to expand your mind and feed your soul. You won't regret it.