Read about the experiences of the current graduates on our scheme, and the job roles taken up by previous graduates.
So far, our graduates have been involved in placements across diverse areas of both Richmond and Wandsworth. Some placements have been joint, whilst others focus exclusively on issues in either borough.
Graduates from our 2016 intake share their experiences.
Degree: BA History, University of Durham
Placements: Transport Strategy and Culture and Libraries
I started on the scheme after the summer when I graduated. It was an exciting time to join as a month in the SSA officially began. My first placement was in Transport where I worked on a number of public consultations. These included consultations on Richmond’s Cycling and Electric Vehicle Strategies and a new Quietway (TfL cycle route).
This enabled me to gain an insight into the councils’ consultation process and to interact with residents, external consultants and Councillors. I discovered how contentious sustainable transport changes can be. I also worked on some new cycling initiatives in the boroughs and visited the development of the new transport services which will serve Battersea Power Station; both of which provided exposure to other transport providers in London.
My second placement is in Culture, which comprises Arts, Parks and Sports, and Libraries. I’m not yet a month in, but I’m going to be getting involved with a variety of different projects across all the service areas, in a number of different sites. I will be working with the Heads of Services to explore new ways of service delivery, looking at delivery methods, comparing standards and costs and then recommending and implementing changes.
I will also be experiencing the front line operational services and be working on a large re-procurement. I am enjoying the scheme and look forward to developing further and broadening my experience in the upcoming placements.
Degree: BA Social Anthropology, London School of Economics
Placements: Communications (Wandsworth), Public Health and Business Intelligence
I’m now coming to the end of my first placement working in Communications. I’ve had the chance to learn about how the council communicates directly with residents and also with the press, as well as which different communication channels the council uses and why.
My role has been really varied which has been great; I’ve been able to write news for the council website, get involved with the different social media platforms and experiment with some new approaches, and experience the range of different ways that the communications team works within the broader context of the council. I’ve also had the chance to work on long running campaigns such as improving air quality.
The work has challenged me and I feel as though I’ve really been encouraged to share my ideas. I’ve also been really well supported right from the beginning. My next placement will be jointly in the Public Health and Business Intelligence teams, which sound really exciting.
Degree: BA History, Cambridge University
Placements: Village Planning (Richmond) and Digital Agenda
I have now been on the Graduate Programme for six months, and have greatly enjoyed it so far. Working for a large organisation that supports two Councils with very different needs and political environments provides a great variety of roles and experiences; yet the well-organised and flexible nature of the Programme gives graduates significant support and allows you to follow your interests.
My first placement has been in the Village Planning Team in Richmond, which in conjunction with the Community Links team, works with residents to determine how they would like to improve their communities, and helps them make the changes happen. I have been involved in tasks as diverse as writing questionnaires, writing a briefing for senior cabinet members, and working between the public and council services to develop the Village Plans.
I have also even had the opportunity to write complex written documents, including an evaluation of the previous phase of the policy, and to represent the Council at consultation events. After a busy and challenging six months, I have gained significant experience of project management and public engagement that will benefit me as I progress with my career.
My second placement will be focused on developing the Digital Agenda, an area of growth for Richmond and Wandsworth. I will be undertaking an audit of current council services to determine where digital activity already exists and to suggest areas of growth. Part of this review will also seek ways of ensuring that all of our residents are included in any digital changes that are taking place. Following on from this research, which will allow me to interact with elected councillors, senior officers and to consider activities across both London and the country as a whole, I will develop a plan for the Council’s future direction in this area.
Degree: MSc Gender, Development and Globalisation, London School of Economics; BA Politics and International Relations, University of Portsmouth
Placements: Customer Services, Policy and Review (Equality and Diversity)
I started on the GDP soon after completing my MSc, and have found it to be both challenging and rewarding. I am currently working in Customer Services, as part of their project team reviewing Customer Service delivery across both Richmond and Wandsworth. In particular, I have worked with Registration Services to review how their customer enquiries, transactions and bookings are handled.
This has given me the opportunity to work closely with other departments and to gain valuable project management skills and experience. In addition, I have supported Customer Services in their recent SSA recruitment drive. I was able to organise the interview process, create the interview content and also be on the panel for a number of interviews.
Alongside my placement, I have been able to get involved with a range of activities such as the Richmond Park by-election and the Twickenham Rediscovered Pop-Up Shop. I have also been able to undertake various learning and development courses in project management and leadership. I have had a great experience with the Programme in my first six months, and am really excited to begin my next placement in Policy and Review (with a focus on Equality and Diversity).
Graduates from our 2015 intake share their experiences.
Degree: BA Geography, London School of Economics (LSE)
Placements: Procurement, Arts Service (Richmond), Corporate ICT and Housing Development (Wandsworth)
Currently I am on a placement in the SSA IT programme. I am working to help move staff from their separate Richmond or Wandsworth IT systems into one shared SSA online structure. This has given me a very clear insight into change management in the public sector, but also some great experience in planning and implementing a far reaching programme across the two organisations. A keen eye for detail and a willingness to explore how things work is absolutely essential in this situation.
Previously I worked in the Arts Service where I helped with a whole variety of projects. This included commissioning services from local groups, bid writing for community projects, curating for major exhibitions and project planning. I also work with the Arts Education department with front line services.
My first placement was in Procurement, helping to ensure any commissioning or purchasing was conducted in the most cost efficient way possible. As Richmond commissions many of its services, you get a great overview of how the council functions. This can range from anything from stationary up to street lighting. As we begin to procure more services jointly with Wandsworth this creates some interesting new opportunities which graduates can look into.
My final placement will be in Housing Development, where I will be looking into national policies and seeing how we can best apply new innovations in Wandsworth.
Degree: BA Geography, University of Manchester
Placements: Arts Service (Richmond), Richmond Commissioning Team, Adult Social Services (Finance and Business Process Development), Housing and Regeneration (Wandsworth)
My first placement was in the Richmond Arts Service. From launching the Borough-wide cultural strategy to curating an open exhibition and helping with pop up jazz performances, I saw how local government works on the front line, at the uppermost levels, and in partnership with external organisations. The Arts Service focuses on inclusion and providing for people from all walks of life, and was a really fun way to get to know the borough.
My second placement in Commissioning involved two major projects looking at how we support adults with a learning disability and mental health problems. For this I worked alongside Richmond CCG, and was able to go out and meet the people that use and provide our services.
My third placement has focused on evaluating business processes and financial policies in Adult Social Services. As Richmond and Wandsworth share staff, we need to create efficient and effective joint systems and processes to ensure the best possible service for our residents. I have had the chance to shadow some social workers, and – along with project management and communications experience – have gained some invaluable insight into how the highly strained world of social care looks in real terms.
I am soon going to be starting my final placement in Housing, where I am looking forward to building more sustained relationships with residents and partners, and bringing together everything I have learnt so far.
Degree: Criminology and History, Durham University
Placements: Village Planning (Richmond), Public Health (Wandsworth), Richmond Commissioning Team and Community Safety
In Village Planning I was involved in a variety of tasks and events. I attended a Youth Service meeting discussing ways how young people can become more involved in Village Planning and their communities. I organised and facilitated community meetings, wrote reports and was in charge of communications and social media. I love how the placement allowed me to interact with residents and services as well as doing day to day work in the office.
For my second placement I worked in Wandsworth’s Public Health department. In this placement, I was involved in childhood flu immunisation campaigns and creating sexual health care pathways. I got to experience another department in the Council but another area too which was very exciting.
My third placement was in Richmond’s Commissioning Team. I was split between the Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group. I got to do consultations with service users and carers for learning disability services and organise an evaluation panel for Outcome Based Commissioning. It was a really interesting area to work in and I gained knowledge and understanding of Adult Social Care and Commissioning.
In a few weeks I will start my final placement in the Community Safety team.
Degree: BA Geography, Royal Holloway University of London, MSc International Relations, University of Bristol
Placements: Democratic Services (Richmond), Achieving for Children (Richmond), Communities and Partnerships (Richmond) and Economic Development
Overall the GDP has been a really interesting experience so far, and if I could describe it just one word I think varied is the most appropriate. I seem to be doing different things all the time, both in my placement and as part of the scheme.
I have now completed three placements, all of which have been very different. I have worked closely with a wide range of people and groups, from Councillors to schools. I have developed a number of transferable skills, with each placement offering the opportunity to be involved in a variety of different projects. Working across different teams has also given me a good understanding of the inner workings of local authorities.
I am looking forward to bringing all of this together during my next placement in the Economic Development team, where I will be focusing on developing the offer in Nine Elms. What has completed the experience thus far is the team that organise and are involved in the scheme, making you feel welcome and supported from the start.
Degree: BSc (Hons) Politics with Economics, University of Bath
Placements: Corporate Policy and Support Services (Wandsworth), Community Safety (Richmond), Public Health, Education and Schools (Wandsworth)
I am currently in the second year of the graduate scheme and have been lucky enough to work in three different teams across two Councils over the past 18 months. I started out in the Chief Executive’s Office, right in the centre of where all the action was happening! The areas of work I was involved in included the regeneration of Battersea Power Station, smoking cessation services and social integration.
I moved onto the Community Safety Team as part of my second placement, and built a fantastic understanding of partnership working, as well as looking at hate crime trends. For my third placement, I chose to work in the Public Health team. I have had the opportunity to work with the Health and Wellbeing Board and have also been involved in project managing a cross-departmental strategy on social prescribing. So far, my experiences on this graduate scheme have been fantastic.
I have learnt so much about myself as a person and a professional, and developed various skills related to presenting, research, and project management, which will be valuable for my long term career. My next placement is in Education Services and I am really looking forward to it!
Our previous graduates have gone on to a variety of roles across the public sector, including both Richmond and Wandsworth Councils.
Current Role: Regeneration Project Assistant, Richmond and Wandsworth Shared Staffing Arrangement
Placements: Democratic Services, The Care Act Team, Parks & Open Spaces, Housing and Regeneration (Wandsworth)
Current Role: Project Support Officer and Corporate Support to the Graduate Scheme, Richmond and Wandsworth Shared Staffing Arrangement
Placements: Achieving for Children, Richmond and Wandsworth Shared Staffing Arrangement, The Care Act Team, Parks and Open Spaces
Current role: Corporate Support to the Chief Executive, Richmond and Wandsworth Shared Staffing Arrangement, and MA student studying Public Policy, Kings College London
Placements: Community Safety, Customer Services and the Web Team, Housing Operations and Policy and Legal
Current role: Commissioning and Programmes Officer, Richmond and Wandsworth Shared Staffing Arrangement
Placements: Public Health, Corporate Partnership and Policy, Economic Development and Business Information
Updated: 16 May 2017