For me, being on the NGDP means contributing to making tangible differences to communities whilst working in a fascinating organisation that offers you so many opportunities.
My first placement was in the Troubled Families team. This was an amazing opportunity to work in a service that pioneers a new way of working with the families who are most in need in the borough. I had high profile work, working directly to the head of service on a number of projects. I also worked with the Director of Children's Services at times too. Working in a team that champions partnership working, my profile rose across the organisation and I gained very useful contacts with partners too in organisations such as the DWP. I had shadowing opportunities too, as I went out with the keyworkers to observe how they worked with the families themselves. It was really important and useful to see how a frontline service actually works in practice.
My current placement is in Electoral Services. In May this year I was part of the Election Management Team responsible for delivering the Local and European Elections in the borough. I found it enormously rewarding to be doing this as delivering an election makes you really appreciate our democratic systems and the importance that they play within government, as well as solidifying my understanding of my role as a public servant. To give an example of how the work can be challenging and how you have to learn on the job, after attending two training sessions for Presiding Officers and Poll Clerks, I was asked by my manager to deliver all the rest of the sessions! After the Election, I was asked by the Returning Officer (the Chief Executive) to lead on the full evaluation of the whole election, and to write a report for the Electoral Commission. I think this has been my favourite piece of work so far – you can't really get more high profile than writing a report for the Chief Executive!
We have very high exposure within the organisation, all NMTs are mentored by a Corporate Director, and we have regular meetings with Assistant Directors and representatives from HR who quality assure our placements. We also have regular meetings with the Chief Executive who is always interested in the work that we are doing as he is such a strong advocate of the NGDP. This exposure really impacts the work we are given and means that if we ever need any support or advice on the best way to go about something, help is always at hand. A lot of time is given to our professional development and placements are shaped around ensuring that we get the most out of our two years on the scheme.
It's also really important to not underestimate the networks that the NGDP scheme offers as you will have contacts in so many local authorities across the country so there's always such a great pool of contacts available to you if you want to research how other councils are working on a certain issue.