Sophie at Bedford Borough Council


Name: Sophie Hawthorn

Working at: Bedford Borough Council

Studied: History and Sociology

Motivations for applying?
I have always been interested in working in the public sector because I like the idea of making a difference and bringing change in my work. I came across the NGDP when researching graduate schemes and thought it sounded interesting and exactly what I was interested in. The fact that the scheme is nationwide really appealed to me, and also that it is well-established with a large community of alumni.

Advice?
Don’t worry if you don’t think you have a lot of knowledge of local government. Councils are looking for transferable skills that you will have gained through university and previous work. My main advice is to take any opportunity that comes at you and ask lots of questions. People will always be willing to help and they will be grateful for any new ideas that you can bring.

How have you changed?
I have changed a lot over the eight months I have been here so far. My confidence has grown because I have been put out of my comfort zone on a regular basis. I have learned how a large organisation works and how to navigate it as a new and young employee.

What about your development?
My knowledge of local government is growing every day and I have gained countless skills which can be taken into my future career in local government and beyond. The scheme is great for development because you gain insight into at least four distinct council service areas, and there is a lot of opportunity for exposure.

Favourite projects?
Up to now I have managed two projects. My first project was in personnel pervices where I had to coordinate new apprenticeship delivery with our in-house training provider, whilst aligning with the council’s Apprenticeship Strategy.  It was a great opportunity to work on a project from start to finish and see the results. My second project was in Democratic and Electoral Services where I was responsible for planning a market place event as part of the Members’ induction process. The event was an opportunity for newly elected councillors to meet officers responsible for key service areas at the council. I had to liaise with officers across all areas of the organisation, which I enjoyed. It was the first time we had held this event so it was great to take a fresh idea and build it into something worthwhile. The NGDP scheme is great for giving you project management opportunities.