Local government sector

With two million staff working in over 400 local authorities in the UK, job opportunities in local government are varied.

Types of local government jobs

Local authorities have responsibilities to provide services such as planning, social services, education, libraries, environmental health, consumer protection, leisure services, waste and recycling services.

There are also roles across departments (often known as directorates, divisions or units) where local government officers assist in the development of council policies and procedures and ensure local services are delivered effectively.

To find out more about the graduate roles in local government read the Prospects overview of the Public Services sector.

There are courses specialising in local government issues, including the Institute of Local Government Studies at the University of Birmingham. A postgraduate qualification is normally not required for entry-level jobs.

Entry routes into local government

Graduate Schemes in Local Government – a two-year National Graduate Development Programme (NGDP) is run by the Local Government Association.

Some local authorities run their own graduate training programmes in different occupational areas, as well as general fast-track schemes in management. Visit individual authorities to find out what they offer.

Some graduates will enter local government as specialists, e.g. accountants, lawyers, engineers etc.

Entry-level opportunities (e.g. clerical assistant, technician) are open to graduates and represent a means of getting your first step on the local government career ladder.

Getting work experience

Some local authorities take students on work experience placements so it’s worth looking on their website and sending a targeted CV and cover letter.

Many authorities have temporary work opportunities; contact their Human Resources department to enquire and register on their temporary jobs email lists.

The University of Birmingham offers work experience bursaries for any student in their first, second or penultimate year of study. For more details visit the internship funding pages.

Careers Network advertises internships on Careers Connect.

It’s important that you gain experience in working well with others. You can do this through getting involved in societies or clubs and volunteering with local organisations such as youth clubs and care homes.

Consider attending public council meetings as means of experiencing some of the legislative and political issues being dealt with at a local level.

Finding a job in a local government

In general, local authorities recruit separately and advertise vacancies locally. Look at the vacancy bulletin produced by the local authority in your chosen area. A useful site to identify Councils is to use the Council A-Z. The websites below also advertise jobs:

Find out more

Not found what you're looking for? Contact Careers Network.


Professional Services