Early careers in local government

What are the entry routes into local government?

The LGA has created information to support both councils and young people in understanding the landscape of early careers routes into local government. 

It is important for local authorities to provide a wide range of ways for young people to get into local government. This can help promote the sector as a great place to work and maximise the opportunities to establish the next generation of employees.


Apprenticeships provide people with an opportunity to learn on the job, gaining knowledge and skills and achieving qualifications while earning money. The LGA's apprenticeship support programme aims to help councils maximise the return on investment of their apprenticeship levy.

T Levels

T Levels are qualifications for students after GCSEs and are equivalent to three A Levels. These two-year courses have been developed in collaboration with employers and businesses, to ensure it meets the needs of all parties. As part of T Levels, students need to complete an industry placement. Councils are working with providers to offer these placement opportunities. Students have already completed placements within digital, planning and construction teams.

The LGA's T Level support programme has supported councils to deliver high quality industry placements. You can also access further information and resources using our T Level toolkit.

Graduate schemes

The LGA offers talented graduates a launch pad for a rewarding leadership career in local government. Graduates have the opportunity to apply for the National Graduate Development Programme (NGDP), a two-year programme where graduates are placed in councils with the aim of developing their skills to become leaders of the future.

Year in industry

Some university courses include a year in industry, which allows undergraduates to spend a year of their studies working within the area of their chosen subject.


Councils may run scholarships which give young people the opportunity to work within local government and provide them with an insight into different roles.

Work experience

As part of a student’s course, they may be required to complete a work experience placement. This is a great opportunity for your council to work with young people.

The LGA’s work experience plan can support your council in developing work experience projects and activities.

We also have a slides from a presentation on what a good work experience placement looks like.

Supported internships

Supported internships are a structured, work-based study programme for 16 to 24-year-olds with special educational needs (SEND), who have an education, health and care (EHC) plan. The core element of a supported internship study programme is a substantial work placement, facilitated by the support of an expert job coach. Some councils offer supported internships as a route into local government. Further information on supported internships can be found on the Department for Education (DfE) website.


A traineeship is a skills development programme that includes a work placement. It can last from six weeks up to one year, though most traineeships last for less than six months. These are another useful entry route into local government. The DfE has more information on traineeships.

Care leavers

Care leavers may face barriers to overcome when starting their careers. Therefore, it is important to ensure they are supported and given opportunities to secure their next steps. As a council you could set yourself targets for offering apprenticeships, entry level work or other opportunities to care leavers. You will also want to consider what support you offer both in the application process and during their employment. This could include financial, housing and skills development. We have a support for care leavers resource pack which explains more.

Other opportunities

Consider what other programmes are available to engage with young people and early careers. For example, councils had success in supporting young people with the Kickstart Scheme when it was running.

Early careers toolkit

An early careers strategy is essential for councils looking to engage with young people and education providers, and to raise awareness of the routes into a career in local government. This strategy should fit into a broader recruitment and retention strategy for both current employees and those considering working in local government.

The LGA has created a toolkit to support councils to develop an early careers strategy. The toolkit contains guidance and resources to help councils engage with providers and young people, and promote local government as an attractive career choice. 

Early careers toolkit