If candidates have any queries which are not covered here, please email ngdp.support@local.gov.uk or send us a tweet: @ngdp_LGA.


I graduated quite a few years ago, can I still apply?
Yes, the ngdp has no limit between when you may have graduated and when you submit your application.

What are the requirements to apply?
You need a minimum 2:2 undergraduate degree in any subject, and the ngdp welcomes graduates from all backgrounds. Unfortunately, we are not able to sponsor visas, so applicants are required to have the right to work in the UK.


What is the recruitment/application process for the ngdp?
The ngdp recruitment process is fully outlined on our applications page.

Do you make adjustments to the selection process based on individual requests?

The ngdp believes that every person should have a fair and equal chance to succeed in our assessment process. We strongly encourage anyone requiring adjustments to the process – for example, those who had additional time at university, or candidates with a disability that would benefit from additional support – to get in touch with our team from the outset. All conversations are confidential and will have no bearing on your application aside from ensuring that you have the best chance to succeed. Information will not be passed on to councils without your permission, including whether or not you have had adjustments in the assessment process.

Some common adjustments we provide to the assessment process are listed here, but these are tailored to individual situations. We will require evidence of your requirements to ensure we are making the right accommodations, and to maintain a fair and transparent process for all candidates. If, however, you are unsure if your university or medical assessment is sufficient, or you do not have evidence of your required adjustments and would like to discuss your needs in more detail, please contact our team to speak confidentially about the support we can provide.

  • Verbal, motion and numerical reasoning tests: Where appropriate we are able to provide extra time so that you won't be disadvantaged. The verbal reasoning test is compatible with screen reading software, but unfortunately the numerical and motion tests are not. If you have a visual impairment, please get in touch with our team before opening the tests for a conversation about how we can make this stage of the process fair and accessible for you. There are a range of solutions based on your requirements and circumstances.
  • Situational Judgement test: This is untimed so no adjustments need to be made.
  • Video interview: If you have a visual impairment or any other disability which may make a video interview an inappropriate method of assessment, we can conduct a telephone interview instead using the same questions. If you require extra reading time, this can be accommodated at the video interview stage. The questions within the video interview remain on screen and are not spoken.
  • Assessment centre: Our assessment centre venues are all accessible. For those who require it, we can offer extra time on components of the day when needed as reasonable adjustments. For candidates who have a visual or hearing impairment we can make suitable adjustments and ask that you contact us early in the process to ensure that we can appropriately plan for your needs.
  • Interviews: Information about your disability will not be passed on to councils without your permission, including whether or not you have had adjustments in the assessment process. We are unable to make individual accommodations on the basis of personal preference, so if you do not have a disability or clear requirement for adjustments then you will need to apply according to the established assessment process: to do otherwise would compromise the fair, equal and transparent nature of the selection process.

We are unable to make individual accommodations on the basis of personal preference, so if you do not have a disability or clear requirement for adjustments then you will need to apply according to the established assessment process: to do otherwise would compromise the fair, equal and transparent nature of the selection process.

Is there a particular type of person who is recruited onto the ngdp?
The ngdp wants to recruit graduates from all different backgrounds, universities and degree disciplines: our aim is to reflect the diverse communities that we serve. We are looking for people who are motivated to work in local government and who have the right attitudes and values and are prepared to work nationwide. Our key skills and behaviours are used to assess candidates' fit with the ngdp during the assessment process and provide a picture of the type of people we are looking to recruit.

Why do you use online testing?

Our selection process has been designed to measure candidates against the ngdp's key skills and behaviours. The ngdp uses online tests to help evaluate a large number of candidates fairly and equally at the start of our assessment process. The verbal reasoning test and numerical reasoning test measure your communication, analysis and problem-solving skills. We strongly encourage candidates to practice these tests in advance of applying to the ngdp.  

Finally, our situational judgement test reflects daily working life as an ngdp management trainee, measuring all of our key skills and behaviours. You can prepare for this test by reviewing our key skills and behaviours, and our sample test questions. If you need a copy of the questions which are accessible with screen reading software, please get in touch with our team.

Can I defer if I am offered a job at the end of the assessment process?
No, unfortunately we do not offer deferrals as council participation changes each year. Our selection process is also updated annually and so candidates must go through each stage to be fairly and equally assessed against other candidates.

Life on the ngdp

Where will I be based?
There are over 350 authorities in England and Wales and every one is eligible to apply to be part of the ngdp. Not all local authorities participate each year: we usually work with about 50 different local authorities who choose to take part in the programme. For a list of the authorities who took part last year and those signed up for the coming year, please see our participating authorities page. Candidates who are successful in the selection process will be provided with a full list of participating authorities for their cohort in early April. We give you the opportunity to express your location preferences by council and by region, but we will also expect you to be flexible about where you will work depending on the supply of and demand for specific placements. We will try and take into account any special circumstances, wherever possible.

Will I be able to choose the authority I work for?
We will take your preferences into consideration by council and by region when arranging interviews with participating authorities but we cannot guarantee interviews with or job offers from specific authorities due to the competitive nature of the programme. This is a national programme and candidates are asked to be flexible within the options available. If you are successful at one or more councils in the interview stage, you will decide which offer to accept.

What learning and development is offered on the programme?
National Management Trainees (NMTs) undergo a national programme of learning and development to complement their council placements and local training and development. Currently, trainees work towards an ILM Level 7 certificate in Leadership and Management which involves online, regional and national training spread over two years of the programme. Trainees will complete two work-based assignments as part of the qualification, putting their learning into practice. For examples of what type of topics our trainees have chosen for their assignments, see Jamie and Jessica’s stories on our diversity and inclusion page.

What types of placements are on offer at councils?
During their two year contract with a local authority, trainees can expect to rotate between at least three placements within their authority, gaining experience in the following functions: corporate; front-line; support services. For more information about placements, please see our ngdp stories for up to date examples of the projects completed by our trainees.

There are a range of types of councils who partner with the ngdp each year and each one will cover slightly different areas of work which may influence the placements which are available. Smaller district/borough councils may not cover certain areas of work that county councils, unitary councils and metropolitan borough/city councils may, but they often provide more senior-level access due to the smaller size of the organisation. The LGA Councillors' Guide sets out how local government works and what services it provides, so take a look to explore what type of council sounds like the right fit for you. The guide also provides a great insight into the role of councillors, as working with politicians is an important element of management roles within local government.

Will I be based in an office or working remotely?

Councils have continued to deliver vital services during the COVID-19 pandemic and many staff have been working fully or partially remotely. As this is a rapidly changing picture, we are unable to advise further on what the working style will be when you start the scheme and it is likely to differ between councils. There will be an opportunity during the application process to find out more from individual councils what this looks like. 

Other queries

I understand this is a two–year development programme, what happens after the end of the two years?
According to our most recent survey of trainees, a large percentage find work in their (or another) local authority by or before the end of the programme. This is of course subject to suitable vacancies being available at that time and also your competencies having been demonstrated to the council during the programme. A percentage of trainees move to other employers within the public sector as the ngdp strongly equips them to do so. A smaller percentage of trainees will move into either the private sector or return to further education. We would expect you to begin to formulate your career aspirations during the second year of the programme, making use of the national network provided by the scheme.

Do you pay relocation expenses?
It will depend on the benefits package offered by individual authorities – some do and some do not.

How can I find out about other graduate career opportunities?
You can apply or reapply for the ngdp during any intake of the programme, providing you meet the entry requirements. Follow us on Twitter @ngdp_LGALinkedIn, or apply at www.ngdp.org.uk.

You can view council vacancies on each council's website. Other public sector graduate schemes are available in the public sector, which you can research on the LG Jobs website