Nikolay at London Borough of Brent

Immense variety of opportunities for personal and professional development while working for a local community at a time of economic and social change.

I joined Brent Council, London in November 2014 and in just under a year I completed two placements which were very different in nature.

I started in the Employment and Skills Team, where I assisted the Apprenticeship Lead. I was given a number of responsibilities early on and these increased over time. Four  and a half months after joining the Council, I became responsible for  the Brent Apprenticeship Service. This combined research, policy work, holding meetings with external stakeholders and working with residents. I had the opportunity to shadow other members of the team, which provided me with an understanding of their service delivery.

My second placement was at the Leader's Office. I gained sound knowledge about how the Council operates. I was able to work with elected members and shadow them in various types of meetings. I developed a wide range of skills related to stakeholder management which can be transferred to future placements and to a potential permanent role.

Throughout the time spent at Brent, I have learned how to work independently; communicate with people of varied seniority; manage relations between officers and elected members; deliver in a culture of high-performance and liaise effectively with people from various departments. I am eager to deepen my knowledge of project management during the remaining two placements as part of the programme.

The positive feedback and gratitude received from residents motivates me. The most rewarding part of the job is the feeling that I have contributed to making a difference to someone by helping improve their situation in a swift and efficient manner. What is unique about the NGDP at Brent is the opportunity to work for the most diverse borough in London.

The learning and development component of the programme has helped me develop my professional competencies. Six months into the programme I was able to do things I had considered extremely challenging. I completed successfully a Business Case and I am currently working on evaluating service performance and delivery, both of which are part of my assignment associated with the ILM-accredited qualification. All this would not be possible, without the support available at local level through a ‘buddy' system, mentoring and regular meetings with line-managers.

Being part of the NGDP gives me and my fellow colleagues on the scheme a broad overview of how our local authority operates. I find rotating placements at frequent intervals to be a very efficient way of experiencing areas in which I would like to develop further.

I look forward to progressing into a permanent role at Brent.


My advice to anyone who would like to apply for the programme is not to hesitate and give it a try. It's important candidates are passionate about contributing to the local communities they would be placed in. Understanding of local issues and broader (national) challenges which local government is facing is an advantage, as it will prepare candidates for the assessment centre, which is part of the application process.