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Friday, 28 January 2011

Idea 3: Local Government Graduate Programme

Every local authority in Scotland takes on one (or more) graduates for two years. The starting salary will be a minimum of £15,000 and the graduate will be exposed to a range of projects and placements in a council(s).

Funding: Scottish govt led and funded from LA budgets.

Why: (1) Skills. Scottish Local Govt has no entrance point for graduates. There is no mechanism in place for talented graduates to become the next generation of Local Govt leaders. They move to London or the EU. Inspired by the programme in England, a Times Top 100 Graduate employer.

And with 1 in every 3 job in Scotland residing in the public sector, Government have a duty to provide opportunities particularly in the islands where the public sector accounts for at least 70% of the economy, not to mention ensuring they do everything possible to tackle graduate unemployment (20% of new graduates are now unemployed) or graduate migration.

(2) Economic. This programme would be a hugely cost-effective buffer for local govt employment levels. Many are already stretched due to the budgetary constraints and will be letting people go, mostly through natural wastage. The LA would only need to contribute (at the most) £20,000 per annum. This is less than a consultant’s fee for one project.

In the long term the council are making a shrewd investment. For a modest sum there are recruiting ambitious and talented graduates who will provide the fresh blood - and future leaders - that Scottish local government needs. Individuals who are not deeply enmeshed in local government ways.

(3) How: Implementing the best of the NGDP down south, the programme would be run by the Centre (as a companion to our increasingly successful adopt an intern programme) and with the current (and former) bright lights in local government. The placements will be workplace based but will include quarterly seminars with other recruits and local government experts to discuss and share best practice

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