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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 job in public service and government? Whether you want to join the Civil Service, work for your local council or follow another route, this is the ideal place to start your 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: 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 government (ngdp). 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.  Alternatively, you could work for a public body – these perform administrative, executive or regulatory functions related to or on behalf of government.

How can I get a graduate career in government?

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.

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.

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 the Civil Service Fast Stream is a 2.2 in any discipline but some specialisms require a higher grade or a specific subject. For the ngdp you need a 2.1 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.

How easy is it to get a job?

Between them, central government departments and agencies employ around 460,000 people – that’s around 8% of the public sector. The Civil Service Fast Stream currently recruits around 900 graduates a year, and the Civil Service employs around 406,000 people in all. Local government, meanwhile, is one of the biggest employers in the UK, and employs more than 1.6 million people in England.

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