Local government starts recruiting graduate talent

A graduate development scheme will be launched for local government this
month to develop its future leaders.

The Employers Organisation for Local Government has teamed up with 42
councils to recruit graduates, and provide them with a two-year management
development programme.

Fifty-three candidates will start a three-day induction on 23 September for
the National Graduate Development Programme. They will then be placed with
individual councils and rotated through three different management development
roles, including frontline services, policy and support services.

Tim Hodey, consultant on the NGDP, said: "The scheme provides local
government with an ideal platform to raise its profile, especially among young
people, who make up only 6 per cent of its workforce and who rarely see it as
an employer of choice.

"It will also stimulate recruitment in the sector at a time when skill
shortages are prevalent."

While tight recruitment budgets and intense private sector competition have
undermined individual councils’ attempts to attract graduates in the past, the
Employers’ Organisation for Local Government secured funding of £400,000 up
until 2004 to market and centrally recruit talent. The councils will pay them a
starting salary of £18,417 a year. This has been benchmarked at a level that is
affordable to councils and yet also attractive to ambitious graduates, explained

The Employers’ Organisation is also developing a post-graduate qualification
for the participants.

Hodey said: "Local government needs people who can develop councils and
create a fresh approach to the delivery of services. Our graduates have been
recruited for their management and leadership skills – the future leaders of
local government."

Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters,
said the importance of a co-ordinated, well-marketed recruitment campaign cannot
be underestimated. "You can’t dispel the myths if you are not marketing
yourselves. Local government is at last sending out a message that it invests
heavily in its future senior managers," he said.

By Mike Broad

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