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graduate jobs in central and local government

How do I get a graduate job in central or local government?

Want a graduate career in public service and government? Whether you want to join the Civil Service Fast Stream, work for your local authority or follow another career path, this is the ideal place to start your job search.

If you want to help run the country, set your sights on working in government. Where you choose to work depends on what you’d like to accomplish in your career.

Choosing between a career in central or local govenment 

If you want to make a difference to the lives of people in a specific area, then local government is the choice for you and you should check out the National Graduate Development Programme for local authorities (NGDP). Graduates can join the NGDP, a graduate scheme at a council or local authority, or a specific vacancy. Competition for the NGDP is fierce, and it’s not much less so for other graduate schemes.

If you’d like to help deliver government policies, then central government is right up your alley and you should consider the Civil Service Fast Stream.  The Civil Service Fast Stream is also highly competitive. Employment in the Civil Service offers a range of opportunities from advisory and administrative positions to jobs that involve working directly with the public.

Alternatively, you could work for a public body – these perform administrative, executive or regulatory functions related to or on behalf of government. Non-departmental public bodies are not integral parts of government. There are specialist positions related to the area in which the body specialises. The wide range of public bodies means a variety of recruitment methods are used. Larger organisations tend to run graduate schemes, while smaller bodies are more likely to recruit for specific vacancies.

What qualifications and skills do I need to work in government?

The minimum entry requirement for some graduate roles in the Civil Service Fast Stream is a 2.2 in any discipline but some specialisms (such as the science and engineering fast stream and the finance fast stream) require a 2.1 degree (or expected degree) or a specific subject. For the NGDP you need a 2.2 or a merit at masters level. Certain jobs in central or local government require technical skills or specific aptitudes so you may need a relevant background.

Across the board, soft skills are valued. You’re likely to need to demonstrate:

  • organisation
  • creativity and flexible thinking
  • leadership
  • decision-making ability
  • teamworking skills
  • the ability to work alone
  • communication
  • enthusiasm and commitment.

For more on the skills needed for government job roles, see this special feature. 

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