NGDP: next steps

This page will be updated with new entries throughout the application process to help you understand each stage and provide you with useful reading, guidance and case studies from current graduates on the scheme.


Congratulations on reaching the next stage!

We hope that you found this page useful when preparing for your video interviews, and we are once again here to help with the next stage of the application process, the assessment centres. Due to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions, the assessment centres will be held virtually, between Tuesday 9 March and Wednesday 24 March. Please allow up to five hours of your time for the assessment centre.

Assessment centres: what to expect

Below, we have listed how the assessment centres will run on the day.

  • Once you join the virtual assessment centre, the session will last for approximately four hours, and will consist of a written exercise, a group exercise, and an individual briefing exercise. You will be using Top Score and Teams for different exercises.
  • Assessors will be present for the group task, but not for the written and presentation tasks.
  • A key thing to remember is that we don’t mark on confidence!

Once again, please look at the key skills and behaviours that assessors will be looking for during the assessment centres – we cannot stress enough how useful these are when preparing!

You will receive login details for your assessment centre 24 hours beforehand from TopScoreTech, via this email address:

Make sure you watch GRB’s instructional video, which you should have received by email. This video will take you through how the platform works, including instructions for testing the platform. It is vital that you test the platform and your equipment before your assessment centre. If you have any questions, please refer to the FAQ’s document in your confirmation email. If your question is not answered there, you can email

Here are some key tips to ensure you have the best chance to showcase yourself and your skills at the assessment centre:

  • Try to have a strong Wi-Fi connection. If you share the Wi-Fi with others in your household, politely ask if they can do something else during that time.
  • Make sure you are comfortable, but sitting upright with a neutral background. Feel free to blur your background, and if possible, ensure that there is minimal background noise so that you won’t be disrupted.
  • Make sure you have everything you need nearby. This includes a notepad and pen, calculator, a glass of water and anything else that you think you’ll need during the assessment centre exercises.
  • Turn off any distractions. This includes your phone or any other devices that you will not need.
  • Speak up and be yourself - Be present in the session and look engaged. Make sure you contribute to group discussions and make yourself noticed throughout the day.

For more general guidance about how to prepare for virtual assessment centres, this page may also be useful: Virtual assessment centres: what to expect and how to succeed.

Assessment Centres: breakdown of the day

You will undertake three exercises during the assessment centre, and we have broken these down to give you an idea of what to expect below.

Group exercise - the group exercise will consist of a scenario that will require working with your group to reach a solution or agreement. You will each be provided with the scenario and be asked to prepare to engage in discussions with your peers. In the virtual room, there will be an administrator who will instruct you on what is expected.

You will have 45 minutes in total for this exercise. This includes 10 minutes to prepare individually, and then 35 minutes of group discussion. For this exercise we advise you have a pen and paper to hand.

Presentation exercise – you will be given a scenario and will asked to prepare and record a  presentation individually.

You will have 45 minutes in total for this exercise. You will have up to 10 minutes to present, split into two consecutive 5-minute recordings. It is up to you how you divide this time. This will be followed by a series of questions about your presentation. You will have up to 2 minutes to respond to each question. For this exercise we advise you have a pen and paper to hand.

Written exercise - For the written assessments you will be using a laptop and be under exam conditions. You will be given an exercise and will have 60 minutes to complete this. For this exercise we advise you have a pen, paper and calculator to hand.

For each exercise, remember:

  • You do not need to have prior expeirence of working in local government but do your research so that you can apply your knowledge of local authorities to the scenarios on the day. The following links will be useful to find out about the challenges facing local authorities:

What is local government?
Key topics in Local Government  
Coronavirus: information for councils

  • Plan your time wisely, especially for your presentation and written exercise.
  • Take your time when reading any information given to you that relates to each exercise and make sure you fully understand the task.
  • Focus on yourself and do not worry about what others might be doing.
Support from our current NMTs

We believe that councils must be as diverse as the communities they serve, and want to give everyone equal opportunities throughout the recruitment process. Find out more about our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion on our website.

The NGDP Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Network aims to grow the number of applicants onto the NGDP from BAME backgrounds (which includes those with African/Caribbean/Asian heritage). The Network are holding a number of drop-in sessions to enable BAME applicants to feel empowered to complete the assessment centre to the best of their ability, regardless of background. Please note that the BAME Network will not know what material will be covered in the assessment centres.

These sessions are for those who self-identify as BAME and will be an opportunity to ask for any tips from current graduates on the programme. To find out more about the sessions, please refer to your confirmation email once you have booked your place at the assessment centre. Find out more about the BAME Network on their LinkedIn page.

Coaching Programme

We are working with Gradcore to offer a coaching programme to help candidates feel prepared for the assessment centres. Whilst we want to offer this support to as a wide a range of candidates as possible, we will need to prioritise those candidates for whom we feel it will be of most benefit, and for those from under-represented groups: for example, those who identify as being from a BAME background, or who are eligible for special requirements due to a disability or impairment. To find out more, please refer to your confirmation email once you have booked your place at the assessment centre.

Case Studies

Want to read about how the current graduates felt in your position? Read our case studies to find out how they approached the recruitment process, and how they are finding their time on the scheme so far!

Did the exercises at the assessment centre give you an insight into the type of work that you would do on the NGDP?

Stephanie Taylor, Cohort 22, City of Wolverhampton Council

A photograph of Stephanie Taylor

Challenging and thoroughly interesting, the exercises undertaken at the assessment centre only fuelled my drive to be successful in my application. All of the tasks required the ability to think on your feet, work quickly and think thoroughly. All exercises required producing multiple solutions for problems and being vigilant to setbacks that can arise. The group task displayed how difficult it can be to reach agreement on decisions that impact so many; however, it also showed the beauty of collaboration and what can be achieved when there are common goals. The skills and qualities the exercises utilised are those that I find myself constantly using and improving daily as I work. Exercises also showcased the level of responsibility one can aim to achieve in their career in local government and the type of work we could be involved in.

What was the recruitment process like as a whole?  What kind of support did you get along the way?

Tom Preston, Cohort 22, Sheffield City Council

Photograph of Tom Preston

As recruitment processes go, the NGDP scheme was undoubtedly one of the most straightforward and supportive processes I’ve encountered. Although some recruitment processes do experience technical glitches, the vital characteristic is how the recruiter responds to this and the level of support that is available. Not once did I feel overwhelmed or alone during the application process, which especially speaks volumes considering the entirety of my recruitment process was virtual. The scheme had a very effective and responsive helpline that responded to my queries in extremely quick fashion. I would often receive email replies to my queries the same day they were asked. I distinctly remember having audio issues during my assessment centre, however the recruitment team instantly put me at ease and had booked me onto another date within minutes. As I was completing my degree alongside applying, the attentiveness I received made the world of difference to both my application and mental health.