Graduate Development Programme

Frequently asked questions

Do you only accept applicants who have recently graduated?

No. Any graduate with, or expecting to achieve, a minimum of a 2:2 degree is welcome to apply. Read more about our entry requirements.

Is there an age limit for applications?

No, we are an equal opportunities employer and represent a diverse community, we welcome applications from people of every age, race, disability, gender, sexual orientation and faith. 

Are there special procedures for candidates with disabilities?

We are committed to employing disabled people. One of these commitments is to guarantee to interview anyone with a disability, provided their application meets the minimum (essential) requirements of the job vacancy, and to consider them on their abilities. When completing your application, please indicate any adjustments you may require.

Do I have to have workplace experience to apply?

This is not a requirement, however some workplace experience could be helpful. All applicants will be shortlisted according to the criteria outlined in the application pack, whether this be achieved through the workplace, academic career, or extracurricular activities. 

Will I receive feedback if unsuccessful?

Candidates will all be informed if their application has been successful or unsuccessful at each stage of the process. Individual feedback will unfortunately not be available at the short-listing stage but can be, upon request, given after the Assessment Centre. 

Is the scheme very competitive?

Hugely. We receive many more applications than there are places. Therefore you have to be fully committed to joining our scheme, to persevere with our highly competitive and demanding process. 

If I am in my final year can I apply now?

Yes, you can apply before you complete your degree and provide details of your expected degree class on your application form.

If you have applied for the Graduate Scheme in a previous year, you can apply again. 

What input do I have on the placements?

The Graduate Steering Group and senior management have overall responsibility for the deployment of graduates. The roles will be dependent on three main criteria; business need, personal aspirations and developmental need. 

We will ensure the opportunities presented to you will enable you to get the experience needed to leave the graduate programme as a professional in your specialist area. 

Flexibility is essential in order to maximise your opportunity on the graduate programme. 

What training and development will be available?

As part of the Graduate Programme, you will have a full learning and development schedule throughout the two years. You will also be supported by your placement line managers each six months, as well as your buddy, mentor, supervisor and our HR network. 

What happens at the end of the two year programme?

During the programme you will be employed on a fixed-term contract and encouraged to apply for permanent roles in your final placement. We will expect you to begin to formulate your career aspirations during year two, and will give you support in finding opportunities. 

As you enter your final placement, we will work closely with you to try and secure longer-term employment in the SSA in an area which interests you. However, we recognise that this process of securing ongoing employment with us might take a little time. To help maximise your chances of success, the councils commit to securing all trainees who satisfactorily complete the two year programme a further six months employment when the main scheme ends. This extension will be in an area or service at the council's discretion. 

In the fifth year of running the Graduate Development Programme, all of our alumni are successfully pursuing further career opportunities, most of whom have remained in the public sector, with a significant number in the SSA.

Am I guaranteed a job?

Contractually, the answer is no. However, it is in the council's best interest to retain aspiring leadership talent, so we'll make sure you are made aware of any opportunities that arise, particularly during your final placement. We'll also provide advice on careers in local government, signposting you to career paths that might interest you. 

We are proud that all the alumni of the scheme to date have been successful in securing their next position before the end of the two year programme, and several have remained within the council's employment, working in diverse areas such as Corporate Services, Housing and Regeneration and the Performance and Programme team. 

Will I be required to work in both Richmond and Wandsworth?

Yes, you will be joining a shared staffing arrangement and placements could be based in Richmond upon Thames or Wandsworth Council offices, or possibly working across both sites at the same time.  

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