Charlotte at Slough Council

I applied to the NGDP scheme because I wanted to pursue a career which allows me to take real responsibility for effecting change and making a difference in local communities.

Few graduate programmes are better equipped than the NGDP to provide successful applicants with such a broad range of skills and experiences, and my placements have certainly armed me with knowledge which will be invaluable in my future career. I've completed strategic and operational placements in areas as diverse as Transport and Children's Social Care, and I am about to embark on a frontline placement in Library Services.

Whilst working in Transport, I led on a number of pieces of work in the area of Transport Policy. This included coordinating and developing the Council's first Transport Forum, compiling and presenting reports to Cabinet regarding two of the Council's major strategic transport schemes, and assisting on the development of funding bids for key strategic projects. This placement provided me with an opportunity to work with representatives from central government departments such as the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Transport, as well as organisations such as Heathrow Airport, the Highways Agency, and Network Rail.

In Children's Social Care, I assisted the Interim Transformation Programme and Development Manager on the project management of a pilot transformation programme for looked after children. As part of this I facilitated a number of meetings with social care professionals, as well as partners from agencies including health, education, and the Police. During this placement I've jointly led on the implementation of the pilot into the organisation on a permanent basis. I've also project managed a celebration event for foster carers in Slough, which has been my favourite moment so far. Foster carers in Slough do such a fantastic job, and I'm so pleased to have had the opportunity to celebrate their achievements with them.

Alongside my placements, I'm also part-way through completing a Level 7 Postgraduate Diploma in Strategic Leadership from the Institute of Leadership and Management. This qualification has been well supplemented by the NGDP learning and development residentials in Warwick, which also provide an opportunity to network with graduates placed in other councils. Slough Borough Council has also supported me in attending a number of professional development courses, including project management and media training, which have been hugely beneficial.

The scheme has definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. However, by challenging me in this way, it has allowed me to prove myself. As a result, I've grown in confidence, particularly in terms of my ability to take a lead on projects and speak up when I feel I can offer a fresh perspective on current ways of working.

I'm excited to see what my next two placements will bring, and would recommend the NGDP to any graduates who are thinking about pursuing a career in local government or the public sector more broadly. The learning curve is a steep one, but the opportunity to gain such a broad range of knowledge is unrivalled.