CAREERS: How I Got Here - Alan Wardle, director of parliamentary and public affairs, Stonewall

What was your first job? A paper round when I was 13. Getting up at 6am was always too early. My first job after university was as a trainee solicitor.

What does your current role involve? I work with the Government on policy developments and changes, which involves lobbying MPs and peers when legislation is going through Parliament. Increasingly, Stonewall is moving into areas other than lobbying. We are working with the media and large public and private sector employers to promote diversity in the work place.

Roughly outline your career path After qualifying as a solicitor I realised I didn't want a career in law, so I joined a graduate civil service training scheme. For the following five years I had various jobs in the Department for Work and Pensions, before arriving at Stonewall in August.

What training or course has most enhanced your career? An eight-day course at the civil service called 'Parliament, Government and the Civil Service'.

It provided an excellent overview of how the system of government works in this country and it had great speakers from academics and MPs to journalists.

What has been your greatest career achievement? I was Alastair Darling's private secretary while at the civil service - definitely a privilege, and the highlight of my career.

What is your advice to people starting out in the sector? Fully understand your organisation's beliefs, ethos and history. You need to know where it's at and where it's going to make yourself much more effective.

Are there any charities you support financially, or with time?

I supported Stonewall before starting here. I also financially support Amnesty International.

I spent my entire year out before university as a volunteer for Oxford Cyrenians, which provides help and support to homeless people in Oxford.

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