As someone who once went through the programme I thought I’d mark this occasion with a few thoughts about the NGDP’s past and how it might have a future.
The NGDP was established, as I understand it, to provide a route into local government that was attractive to the best graduates. It would give the participants a broad experience of local government and an academic qualification that was both attractive to employers and designed to set them up well for a long career. It was meant to be a competitor to the gold-star quality Civil Service Fast Stream and in that spirit the bolder members of the NGDP team would often remark that they wanted to see a graduate of the scheme as a Local Government Chief Executive within ten years.
It is not a secret to say that things are tough in the world of Local Government right now. Jobs are being lost and senior managers and being forced to make the sort of tough decisions that they’ve possibly (and bearing in mind how long it is since there’s been big cuts, probably) never been asked to make before.
Sometimes this moment of challenge can lead to great innovation but often it can lead to really bad decisions being made.
A case in point are graduates on local government’s fast track graduate scheme theNGDP. This scheme is meant to mimic the Civil Service Fast Stream and bring in a steady stream of hyper intelligent and uber-competent staff to ensure Local Government’s ongoing success. I have seen graduates in the various local authorities I have worked and in general they have lived up to their reputation and have gone on to get good jobs and have good careers.
Welovelocalgovernment we have a mix of professions and backgrounds. Therefore, when one of us suggested writing a piece about the plight of young people in the local government workforce we decided to do it in two bits; part 1 about young people with a graduate background and part 2 about young people without a graduate background. This is Part 1.
I had a meeting with someone in HR the other day (unfortunately, meetings with HR nowadays tend to involve discussing the redundancy process) but before I left we had a brief chat about the age profile of local authorities.
There may be some exceptions but in my experience local authorities seem to be populated by those of us firmly rooted in middle age, if not slightly slipping into the ‘wise elder’ category. It makes me wonder how they all got here; surely these people were young once? If not, when did they join Local Government?