Skip to main content

Meet the Politics graduate taking a stand for young people

Megan Lambert graduated from Newcastle University with a first-class degree in Politics and International Relations last summer. Since she was a teenager, she has been vocal in promoting opportunities for young people from underrepresented groups.

18 March 2024

During her time at university, Megan was supported by an alumni-funded scholarship and is now dedicating her career to improving opportunities available to other young people who face multiple barriers to reach their potential.

Social mobility and supporting young people from low socioeconomic backgrounds is at the core of everything Megan has achieved during her time at Newcastle and beyond, from growing the 93% Club in Newcastle as a student to now sitting on the Board of the British Youth Council. In 2023, she was a finalist at the upReach Student Social Mobility Awards: government and politics sector, and runner up Social Mobility Activist of Year by The Sutton Trust.

We recently caught up with Megan to find out more about her time at university, her career in politics and how she is making a difference for the next generation.

Welcoming from the start

I joined Newcastle University at a turbulent time. It was September 2020 and the country was still in lockdown restrictions, so while I made the move from my home in Wales to Wellington Plaza student accommodation (near St. James’ Park), my introduction to university life was all done through a laptop screen.

I knew, as soon as I attended an Open Day at Newcastle, that it would be my first choice university. Walking along the Quayside made me think, ‘yes, I could definitely live here.’ Before I got on the train, I didn’t even really comprehend how far away it was from home – 350 miles!

Despite the unusual start to my studies, I could tell immediately that the staff in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology genuinely cared and were doing their best to make good of the situation. That was really reassuring and made me feel more confident that I had chosen the right university, and the right course.


A politically-charged time

Joining university in the middle of a global pandemic, there was obviously a lot of buzz and focus on politics at the time. So that also contributed to my decision to change courses.

I was one of the many working-class students who saw their A Level results unfairly downgraded due to the government’s algorithm, which marked down those from disadvantaged postcodes. As soon as this happened, I contacted our MP and held a meeting with him via Zoom in my role as Youth Mayor. Unfortunately, he defended the algorithm, stating that it was right that I wasn’t given the same grade as someone who went to a private school. 

This was the first time I’d really faced injustice because of my background, and it ignited in me a desire to make a difference for other people. I’m so grateful I was involved in Newcastle’s PARTNERS programme, as without it, I wouldn’t have achieved my goal of studying here.

A complete switch

I had originally applied to study Biomedical Sciences, but during my A-levels I had started to get involved with local politics and represent young people in my area through the Youth Council. I really enjoyed attending Cabinet meetings and making sure that my generation were included in the conversation, so decided to lean more into this interest and change courses.

I was encouraged to first dip my toes into local politics by one of the leaders of my cadets group. She spotted how passionate I would get when we had debate sessions and pulled me to one side to tell me about the Youth Council. This one act has honestly changed the course of my life, and I’m so grateful that she took the time to notice.

As soon as I arrived in Newcastle, I continued this interest by joining the Student Voice Committee and the Debating Society (which I was President of in my final year). It was through these groups that I found my tribe, as it were, and it was great in second year to start exploring the city together and get a taste of the proper Newcastle student experience!

I would say the last semester of my studies was the best of everything. COVID restrictions had ended and, despite being in the deepest depths of dissertation hell, I had a great time with my fellow Politics students on the 4th floor of the Henry Daysh Building as we powered through our writing! The weather was on the up and the Politics department were hosting more talks and events, so we could really enjoy ourselves and get involved in typical student life. 

Making a difference

Times were tough growing up, and I was always conscious of our financial situation as a single parent household. Both of my grandparents were coal miners and had their livelihoods impacted by the miners’ strikes in the 1980’s and so stories of inequality and injustice were always present. It was harrowing hearing their experiences.

I got a part-time job as soon as I could at 16 and worked throughout my A levels, which was difficult to juggle, but I knew that my mum wasn’t able to support me as much as she wanted to.  

When I came to Newcastle, I was fortunate to benefit from the Opportunity Scholarship, which is part-funded by alumni donations, and as my mum was ex-military, I also received the Royal Naval Scholarship through Newcastle and the Royal Greenwich Hospital Fund. 

I genuinely believe that without this financial assistance, I wouldn’t have been able to partake in the student societies and activities that have given me the skills I have needed to launch my career. The scholarships meant I didn’t have to work 16 hours a week alongside my studies, it gave me some much-needed respite and the freedom to dedicate my time to giving back to causes that mattered to me and was also invaluable in providing the space to develop my skills and connections.

For example, having been a part of the PARTNERS programme myself, I volunteered to be a rep at the assessed summer school to support the next cohort of pupils achieve their ambitions of getting a degree at Newcastle. And I also became President of the 93% Club in Newcastle, a society set up to provide equal opportunities for students from state school backgrounds.

It is through the connections that I have made through these extracurricular activities that I have gotten to where I am today in my career. The support I received was nothing short of life changing.

Making the move to London to kickstart my career in politics

I’ve recently taken the first steps in my career in Parliament, where I work for two Labour party MPs. In just one day in the office, I saw Jacob Rees Mogg, Therese Coffey, Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn – so it’s a fascinating place to be!

Day to day, I do a lot of constituent-facing work and helping to resolve any issues they may have, so I spend a lot of time liaising with the Home Office, HMRC and local authorities. It’s very busy but it’s great to be making a difference, and really exciting to be at the centre of politics during a General Election year.

Alongside these roles, I’ve recently been elected as a Trustee for the British Youth Council. This new role is a privilege; the charity works to support young people to use their voice, participate in democracy, and develop their professional skills ahead of their careers.

Proudest moments

Being elected as a British Youth Council Trustee aged 21 was definitely a full-circle moment. It felt incredible to become part of the strategic leadership in a system that I had benefitted from myself just a few short years ago. All the Trustees are elected before they turn 25, so we’re a charity for young people governed by young people, which is really cool.

I would say my proudest moment to date was becoming a TEDx speaker while studying for my A Levels. My talk focused on encouraging young people to take opportunities and essentially, to prioritise networking, because one small decision can change the course of your life. Just look at me and joining cadets when I was 13!


Do you have news to share with our alumni community?

Get in touch and share your latest news and achievements so we can let your fellow Newcastle alumni know!