By Paul Nelson
A national graduate development programme for local government has been launched in a bid to attract and develop future chief executives and senior managers.
For the first year of the programme, the Employers’ Organisation for Local Government scheme has an £800,000 grant to train and develop graduates into senior managers for the sector within 10-15 years.
The recruitment of recent graduates and young workers is a problem for the sector with only 6 per cent of local government staff aged under 25 years old.
The Employers’ Organisation estimates that of the 400 councils in England only 20 run graduate trainee schemes.
So far 2,000 people have applied for the 50 places on the two-year scheme that will see the graduates become full-time employees of a local council earning between £18,500 and £21,000 a year.
The course consists of two to three month placements in core, frontline and support services as well as placements with public or private sector organisations and external mentoring.
Ten local authorities, including Newcastle City Council and the London Borough of Lewisham, have already signed up to the scheme via the EO’s website. Other councils have until 24 May to join.
Keith Handley, programme change director at the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council, said: “We want to attract more graduates into local government and the new programme is the best way to do it. We need to attract our fair share of high-flyers who will be capable of becoming senior managers in the next decade.
“It’s very important, given our current recruitment issues, that local government is seen to be visible in the graduate job marketplace and this programme will help us to improve our image in this area.”