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


What are the requirements to apply?
You need  a minimum 2:2 degree in any subject. The NGDP welcomes graduates from all disciplines. You must also have the right to work in the UK without sponsorship (see more details below).

Do you accept applications from non-UK citizens?
Yes, we do accept applications from non-UK citizens but when you apply you must be able to prove your eligibility to work in the UK for the duration of programme.

The Graduate Visa (available from July 2021), and the Youth Mobility Scheme visa do not meet the NGDP’s criteria to cover the full programme. Therefore, we are not able to accept either of these as proof of right to work.  Please note we do not sponsor candidates under the “New Entrant” category. 

The guidance and rules about working in the UK can change at short notice, therefore, we recommend you review the UK government guidance regularly as if it changes it may mean we are unable to admit you to the programme.

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 is the recruitment/application process for the NGDP?
You can find all the information about the recruitment process and timeline on our NGDP application page.

What are you looking for from applicants?
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. We would encourage you to read our key skills and behaviours, which we use to assess candidates’ fit with the NGDP during the assessment process.

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. We strongly encourage candidates to use our practice questions before applying to the NGDP.  

Our situational judgement test reflects daily working life as an NGDP management trainee. You can prepare for this test by reading our key skills and behaviours and sample test questions.

Offer and employment

When will I receive an offer?
If you are success at the interview stage, you will receive a conditional offer from the council, which will be subject to passing pre-employment checks.

We expect offers to be confirmed by June/July and your start date with the council will be arranged for autumn 2023.

Will I be able to work flexibly?
Many councils offer hybrid and flexible working options, with staff working a mixture of at home and in the office.

Specific arrangements around flexible and home working will differ between councils. There will be an opportunity during the application process to find out more from individual councils about what this looks like. 


Do you make adjustments to the selection process based on individual requests?
The NGDP welcomes applications from candidates of all different backgrounds, including candidates with disabilities. We believe 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 as early as possible. 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.

You can find more information about the adjustments and support we can provide on our accessibility webpage.

Where will I work?

Where will I be based?
The NGDP is a national programme and we expect applicants to be flexible about where they will work.

We work with local authorities across England and Wales. Not all local authorities participate each year: we usually work with about 70 different local authorities who choose to take part in the programme. You can find a list of local authorities who have recently taken part in the NGDP on our partner councils webpage.

We will share a full list of participating councils with successful candidates after assessment centres. 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. We will consider 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. However, we cannot guarantee interviews with specific authorities due to the competitive nature of the programme.

The NGDP 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 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. You can find out more about recent projects completed by our trainees on our NGDP experiences webpage.

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.


How much will I be paid?
The minimum salary for National Management Trainees (NMTs) is currently £28,371. This is subject to pay negotiations and may increase in 2023.

Some councils offer a higher salary, for example to cover inner or outer London weighting.

Learning and development

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.

Will I receive a qualification?
Yes, when you complete the scheme you will receive a postgraduate Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) certificate.

What happens at the end of the two years?

What happens after the end of the two year programme?
At the end of the two year programme a large proportion of our trainees move on to new roles in their local authority. Some trainees also find roles in different councils or the wider public sector, such as the civil service or NHS.

The NGDP is a fast track graduate development programme, which aims to develop the future leaders of local government. The skills that you will develop over the course of the two year programme, as well as being part of a national network of trainees, will put you in a strong position to pursue a leadership role in local government.