Careers In The NGDP
NGDP stands for the National Graduate Development Programme - a fast-track graduate careers programme for individuals looking to make a difference within their local government (UK).
The 2-year programme focuses on tackling big community issues such as:
- Reducing homelessness
- Protecting the environment
- Caring for vulnerable children
- Regenerating areas that suffer from crime and poverty
Over 50 local councils work with the NGDP and once completed you will gain a level 7 qualification in Leadership and Management, which is fully funded.
If you are looking for an opportunity to make a measurable and impactful difference, you should consider applying for the NGDP programme.
Types of Jobs At NGDP
Graduates will take on three or four different work placements to learn about different areas of local government as well as the public sector. You might encounter opportunities ranging from frontline projects in housing, social care to back-office areas such as law, HR, and corporate functions.
NGDP Application Process
The application process for NGDP is fairly competitive since the programme is popular amongst graduates and has been consistently ranked within the top 100 graduate employers over its 20-year history.
The application process consists of the following stages:
- Online application
- Online tests
- Video Interview
- Virtual Assessment Centre
- Interviews With Councils
Candidates who do well during the application process are typically well prepared for each stage and have done thorough research and preparation in advance. You should use this guide as well as our practice tests to prepare yourself for the recruitment rounds.
NGDP Online Application
You will be required to submit an online application when applying for a job with NGDP. The online application is what you would typically expect - requiring you to fill out your contact information, education, work experience and to answer a series of questions about your eligibility for the role.
It's important at this stage to ensure you check your application is up to date and ensure you spell-check. Attention to detail and error checking are important skills in NGDP and qualities recruiters pay attention to.
NGDP Aptitude Tests
Once you've submitted an online application you will be required to complete one online test that examines a variety of skills, behaviours and your work ethics.
Typically, the top 50% of test-takers are shortlisted for these types of tests so it's important to get lots of practice so that you improve your score and increase your chances of being shortlisted.
NGDP uses the test publisher SHL for their reasoning tests which focus on assessing key skills - cognitive, behavioural, personality and job-focused competencies.
The online tests include:
- Situational Judgement Test
- Verbal Reasoning Test
- Numerical Reasoning Test
If successful, you will move onto the interview stages of the NGDP recruitment process.
NGDP Situational Judgement Test
A situational judgement test examines your ability to respond well in realistic workplace situations and how closely you meet the ideal work profile based on your responses. You will have to rate your most likely and least likely response to a range of situations - the answers are not always obvious.
Although there are no right or wrong answers for this type of test format, it's important to be strategic and remember NGDP's values. This should help make the choices a bit easier.
The SJT helps NGDP assess if you have the right kind of work ethics and values as their employees and if you'll make a good cultural fit.
NGDP Verbal Reasoning Test
A verbal reasoning test is an assessment to measure your comprehension skills. It is a timed test consisting of multiple-choice questions. You will be provided with dense passages of text that you must read and decide whether statements about the text are true, false or if you cannot tell.
The verbal reasoning test is useful for NGDP to assess how efficiently you can understand information and summarise the important details.
NGDP Numerical Reasoning Test
The numerical reasoning assessment is a timed test that requires you to answer a series of multiple-choice maths questions with approximately one minute per question.
The maths topics covered are at GCSE level (or equivalent) - but the real challenge is your ability to solve the questions under timed pressure. Many people practice numerical reasoning tests beforehand to make sure they have the basics covered and are prepared for the fast-paced nature of the test.
NGDP uses numerical reasoning tests as a fair and accurate way to assess problem-solving skills and mathematics for roles that require numerical reasoning. The test helps recruiters quickly see which candidates have strong numerical reasoning skills.
NGDP Video Interview
If you score well enough in your tests and meet the application criteria you may be shortlisted and invited for a video interview.
You will be required to record your answers to preset questions instead of answering them face to face with someone. Your responses are scored against a list of core competencies that help the recruiter assess your behavioural profile and fit for the programme.
It is strongly recommended that you do your research about the sector in detail as you may be asked about your motivations for wanting to work for the local government and the public sector.
Typical questions might include:
- What is a key issue current local communities are facing? How would you tackle this?
- Describe a time when you implemented change effectively
- Why do you want to be on the programme?
- Think of a time you worked on a large project. What were your strengths and weaknesses and the challenges you faced?
It is recommended you use the STAR method to structure your answers.
NGDP Virtual Assessment Centre
For the virtual assessment centre you will be invited to take part in a series of exercises:
- Written analysis
NGDP Individual Task
For the individual task, you'll typically be asked to present on a topic or case study. You'll be assessed on your communication, organisation, attention to detail as well as how well your work under pressure.
NGDP Group Exercise
The group task involves working within a team to discuss an agenda, debating an issue and coming to an agreed-upon decision.
You'll be assessed on your leadership, teamwork and interpersonal skills. It's important to try and get a good balance between listening and interacting in the group.
NGDP Written Analysis Exercise
The written analysis is a written report/essay that you might be asked to complete. You'll be given lots of information on an issue which you need to write a short piece on what you have learnt. The challenge is prioritising information under timed conditions.
NGDP Interviews With Councils
The final stage during the assessment centre are opportunities to talk with different members of the councils that offer placements. Researching the councils you are meeting with beforehand could give you an advantage when trying to make a good first impression.
You may be asked about your motivations for joining as well as a series of competency-based questions. Preparation for your meetings is key.
How To Get On The NGDP Programme
In order to do well and secure a place on the programme you need to be able to demonstrate the following key skills and behaviours that NGDP recruiters are measuring candidates on:
- Working with others
- Persuasive communication
- Planning and organisation
- Drive for results
- Analysis and problem solving
- Motivation for learning and personal resilience
- Commitment to local government and the wider community
- Leadership potential
Tips To Get Hired At NGDP
1. Read up on local government
It's always important to do your research beforehand so if you are asked any questions you are well prepared. Reading up on local government is one of the top tips NGDP talks about to prepare for your interview. You should have a clear idea of what working in the sector will be like and the issues local councils face.
2. Be able to explain your motivations
Knowing why you want to work in government and the public sector is an important question you'll be asked. NGDP recruiters are looking for passionate and bright people whose purpose align with theirs. Think hard about your motivations and why.
3. Practice lots of aptitude tests
During the shortlisting process, you'll be given a series of aptitude tests to complete. You'll want to have practiced lots of these beforehand so you can ensure you'll score well on the tests.