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About ngdp

ngdp gives you two years to influence some of society’s big issues in a challenging environment, completing a post-graduate certificate and experience work across a range of different departments.

The programme has been set up to provide local authorities with the high-calibre managers that communities need by giving committed graduates the training and opportunities to make a positive impact. We provide you with experience working for a dynamic, exciting and socially responsible employer: the ngdp is your launch pad to a successful leadership career.

Why the NGDP?

Ever wanted a career that could make real changes to people’s lives and communities? Well, our graduate programme opens the doors to make this happen.

At present, councils are faced with challenging times. However, with challenge comes the opportunity to develop prospective new ideas and exciting times lie ahead in order to continue to make a real difference to people’s lives and the communities where they live.

From helping and supporting vulnerable adults and children, assisting businesses to thrive in local areas and then future proofing in making decisions on housing and transport – your council does all this and so much more. But it’s not just the services councils provide, it’s the people that work for councils who are truly driving positive change and making a difference.

Can you make a difference? Then our national graduate development programme (ngdp) is for you. We will give you the broad understanding of local government and the hands on experience for you to develop a fulfilled career that will positively changes people’s lives.

Learning and development

The learning and development programme is currently delivered through residential modules, distance learning, networking and a variety of regional events. Our trainees are expected to work towards a qualification in leadership and management by the conclusion of the programme.

The overall purpose of the programme is to develop future leaders and managers within local government.

Content will include:

  • models of leadership development
  • financial management training
  • procurement and commissioning in local authorities
  • project and people management
  • community engagement
  • how to work in a political context
  • how to deliver results
  • developing self


There are over 350 local councils in England and everyone is eligible to apply to be part of the ngdp. Not all local councils participate each year: we usually work with over 50 different local authorities. For a list of the councils who took part last year and those signed up for the coming year, please see our website. Candidates who are successful in the selection process will be provided with a full list of participating councils for their cohort in early April 2019. We give you the opportunity to express your location preferences by council and by region, but we will also expect you to be flexible about where you will work depending on the supply of and demand for specific placements. We will try and take into account any special circumstances, wherever possible.

The ngdp is highly regarded by councils, graduates and the wider sector, ranked in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers and Guardian UK 300. It has a wide alumni network working at senior levels across the public sector, having provided a pipeline of consistently high calibre trainees to over 150 authorities through twenty cohorts.

  • Fast track into a management career
  • Build your career in the public sector, the largest employer in the UK.
  • Work in one of more than 50 different locations across England.
  • Enjoy placements in key strategic areas across the council, such as policy, social care, transformation or human resources.

Challenging, rewarding work

If you are successful, you will work as a graduate trainee in at least three different parts of the council over the two year programme. You will have the chance to gain insight into both front-line service delivery and corporate management of complex services. This experience is supported through a learning and development programme delivered online and through events with other management trainees.

A community of like minds

The ngdp recruits graduates from all different backgrounds, universities and degree disciplines; our aim is to reflect the diverse communities that we serve. As a trainee, you will build a strong network of like-minded peers by meeting and working with other graduates across England and Wales.


  • Obtained a 1st, 2:1 or 2:2 undergraduate degree?
  • Your degree can be in any discipline.
  • You must have obtained a 1st, 2:1 or 2:2 undergraduate degree by end of July 20cohorts.
  • If your degree was not obtained in the UK, it must be the equivalent of a UK degree and meet our minimum grade.
  • You are eligible to apply if you have been educated to degree level, regardless of the year of graduation.

We positively encourage all applicants to self-identify their characteristics in the equal opportunities monitoring section in the application.

We are actively committed to the principle of equal employment opportunity for all applicants and to providing employees with a work environment free of discrimination a

  • The ngdp likes to recruit graduates from all different backgrounds, universities and degree... View statement

Graduate opportunities

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    The facts

    Organisation's locations: 
    The ngdp places graduates in one of over 50 partnering councils based on your regional preferences.
    Employer size: 
    51 to 250 employees
    Number of graduate vacancies per year overall: 

    The UK 300 rank

    25 out of 300

    View the UK 300 table