The NGDP has provided me with a fulfilling, varied and challenging insight into local government and a great platform to develop a wide range of skills whilst making a difference in the public sector.
My first placement in Policy & Strategy was a great introduction into local government, as it touched on so many different areas that were important, and in some cases contentious. Two of my main projects were reviewing and revamping the Car Park Fees & Charges policy, and instituting a process for Horizon Scanning – researching emerging issues and assessing how prepared the authority is for them. Both of these projects honed my research and analysis skills, and required me to interact with lead officers, senior management and Executive Members.
My second placement in Finance required me to approach issues with a completely different mind-set, and gave me a great insight into the budgetary pressures that Local Government is facing. My main projects were producing a Value for Money report -reviewing costs and income of services across the authority and comparing them against statistical neighbours – and producing a Savings plan for the authority, monitoring the progress of various projects and challenging departments to make efficiencies.
As well as these two main placements I have been involved in an array of other projects with various teams, including recruitment with HR, being part of the organisational development working group, project managing several working groups producing changes based on the results of our staff survey, co-ordinating Selby's involvement in Commonwealth day, liaising with other government bodies such as UKTI to hold joint events, writing speeches for the Leader and briefings for the Chief Executive. In addition the ILM projects have developed my business and management skills, allowing me to work closely with the Corporate Management Team and achieve changes as part of my qualification.
The 1st year of the NGDP has been extremely varied and busy, and provided an excellent grounding in Local Government. At Selby the NMTs are really valued and invested in - I have been supported throughout my placements by mentoring from a Business Manager and advice from my placement coordinator; and the authority is committed to making best use of our talents and ensuring we get the most from the experience, encouraging us to be "agents for change" and approach projects differently and radically. In addition the support you have from the national network of NMTs is invaluable, and the development sessions at the University of Warwick are insightful and a great opportunity to share ideas and tackle problems together.
I would highly recommend applying for the NGDP. The application process is tough, but if you can show a breadth of skills and a desire to work in the challenging and changing environment of Local Government, the experience is an extremely varied and rewarding one that allows you to impact directly on local communities whilst developing your own skills and career.