Local governments provide services such as education, housing, and environmental services within designated regions. Councillors, who are essentially volunteers that receive a modest allowance, are responsible for decision making within the council, but there are also paid positions across the board and plenty of opportunities for graduates. In fact, there over 2 million employees in local governments throughout the UK.
Careers in local government
Local government careers span a wide range of job roles. The Local Government website lists the available careers in an A-Z section on its website. Each local council has its specific needs, but people are particularly in demand in the following areas:
- Social workers
- Planning officers
- Environmental health officers
- Building control officers
- Legal professionals
- Occupational therapists
Although many of these roles require specific vocational training qualifications, the skills obtained through university study will be relevant to the role such as:
- Analytical skills
- Ability to work independently
- Planning and budgeting skills
Of special interest to graduates, though, is the National Graduate Development Programme (NGDP). This programme is a two-year training scheme to help graduates from many different disciplines to take on managerial roles within local governments.
Finding a job
Local Government has its own job website at http://www.lgjobs.com/, which includes a specific section for graduates at http://www.ngdp.co.uk/. There are also graduate training schemes operated solely by certain councils. Check the website of your local council for information on job vacancies and training programmes. Jobs aimed at highly-qualified candidates such as those with postgraduate qualifications or a background in academia are often advertised on jobs.ac.uk.
Benefits of working for local government
As with most jobs in the public sector, local government work offers an excellent work-life balance. Holiday entitlement is generous, and a pension scheme is available. Working for an organisation so fundamental to society as a local council means that job stability is relatively high. Many people who work in this sector also cite job satisfaction as being part of the reason why they choose to work in this sector.
For academics and graduates, it offers you the chance to apply what you have studied and see tangible results in the local area. Jobs in fields like environmental health cause a direct impact on related policies and policy implementation. For more information on this, please see our Public Sector article. You may also be interested in the article outlining roles in National Government.