Being a National Management Trainee at Coventry City Council has given me the opportunity to learn from others, grow as a person and make a difference in my organisation.
I spent my first six months working across the Place Directorate, where I was given the chance to present to senior managers on a multimillion pound rebuild project. This pushed me to the limits of personal development and learning, as I had no previous experience in this field. There were also fantastic opportunities to experience frontline roles and I even spent half a day collecting bins after some fast-track training. Seeing work from the front line right up to the strategic level really puts the variety of work in local government into perspective.
I spent the rest of my first year supporting a City of Culture bid for Coventry, which included working collaboratively with heads of private, public and voluntary sector organisations. I also took a lead role in a review of a leisure discount card, liaising closely across the organisation to come up with the best possible new solution for the residents and Council. On top of all of this, I supported the organisation of a high budget event showcasing the Coventry and Warwickshire area to key stakeholders in London.
Learning and development has become an integral part of everyday working, because I have been involved in a variety of projects which are entirely new to me. Taking part in residential events and a learning programme helps give structure to this development, plus I will get the bonus of a qualification at the end.
Coventry City Council runs a fantastic centrally-funded scheme and they are keen to let you shape your own path. This means I can chose the services I want to work in, rather than my decisions being shaped by where the funding lies. There are always improvements to be made, but employees are keen to take feedback and make the scheme the best it can be for the individual NMT. I also have a brilliant support network in the previous NGDP cohorts that have stayed on at the organisation – always a good sign.
If you have a real, sincere passion for local government and/or making a difference, don't be afraid to show it. At the later stages, I would definitely say to keep an open mind as to where you want to work, both geographically and departmentally.