For students

Whether you are about to leave school or university there are opportunities in local government that will match your ambitions.

Outline of people against an orange, purple and light orange background

Whether you are about to leave school or university there are opportunities in Local Government that will match your abilities. Local government is responsible for a range of vital services for people and businesses in defined areas. Among them are well known functions such as social care, schools, housing and planning and waste collection, but also lesser-known ones such as licensing, business support, registrar services and pest control.

Each council will have different opportunities and entry routes into Local Government, therefore it is important to complete research.

Below are some entry routes that councils may run:

  • Apprenticeships
  • T Levels
  • Graduate Schemes
  • Scholarships
  • Work Experience
  • Supported Internships
  • Traineeships

Each council will promote their opportunities on their website or job sites. It is important to complete research around when programmes open.

What roles are available in Local Government?

Why work in local government?

Meaningful work
  • Making a positive difference to the lives of others.
  • Contributing to the community.
  • Often get to see the results of your work – particularly if working frontline.
Job stability
  • Local government will always be needed by residents and by central government, so this offers a certain degree of job stability.
  • If you need (or want!) to move, you will be able to get a job from almost anywhere in the country as everywhere has a local council.
Progression
  • Clear route of progression.
  • Often opportunities to progress, particularly if you are willing to relocate, as the sector is so large that there will nearly always be relevant opportunities available.
  • Opportunities for secondments.
  • Local govt encompasses a large variety of areas, so there is also the opportunity to move across the sector.
Work/Life Balance
  • For the most part, the culture of local government encourages a healthy work-life balance.
  • Standard contracts are usually 35 hours.
  • Work in the sector is becoming increasingly flexible e.g. flexible hours and hybrid working.
  • Generous leave allowance (often also including generous parental and sick leave).
Salary
  • Fair pay with progression opportunities available.
  • Access to the local government pension scheme.
Development
  • Development opportunities through the SOLACE learning hub.
  • Local authorities may pay for you to do qualifications, if there is also a business benefit to you doing this.
  • NGDP pays for and supports graduates to complete an ILM Level 7 Qualification in Leadership and Management, and other graduate schemes also offer qualifications alongside work.
  • Development (and networking) opportunities through events like the Tri-sector challenge, the East Midlands Challenge etc.
Good networking opportunities
  • SOLACE e.g. network through events.
  • NGDP networks accessible to those on the graduate scheme.
  • Regional networks e.g. London Councils.
  • Variety of CIPFA networks.
  • Opportunity to network across local government through events like the Tri-sector challenge, the East Midlands Challenge etc.
  • Opportunity to liaise with professionals in the same field/facing the same challenges through LGA webinars and other events.
  • Opportunity to work with partners e.g. NHS.
  • Opportunity to work directly with politicians and gain an understanding of how the political element of government functions.
Forward thinking
  • Local government has to keep up with changing challenges every day, as has been illustrated throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
  • Local government faces cuts and financial challenges, so always has to come up with innovative ways to increase efficiency.
  • The sector has begun focusing more energy on EDI work and will consequently reap the benefits of an increasingly diverse workforce in years to come as long as this momentum is maintained.
Other benefits
  • Free or discounted access to local amenities e.g. sports/leisure facilities
  • Health and wellbeing services and support
  • Cycle to work schemes etc

 

Find further information from NGDP grads here on ‘Why local government?’.

What roles are available within Local Government?

Local Government covers a wide range of jobs, with different opportunities whether it is entry level or more experienced roles. In England, more than one million people work in local government across a range of different types of authorities, providing more than 800 different services to local communities.

Councils contribute to your local area in a number of ways, meaning there are wide ranging opportunities available. People who work for councils:

  • Teach our children
  • Protect vulnerable people
  • Support and promote local businesses and jobs
  • Ensure we are treated well and not over-charged by shops and restaurant
  • Put out fires
  • Make our neighbourhoods safer and pleasant to live in
  • Run our parks, leisure centres and libraries
  • Help us to keep us and the community healthy

Due to these varied services within Local government this means there is a great need for talented people with a range of skill sets.