Graduate Development Programme current graduates

Read about the experiences of the current graduates on our scheme, and the job roles taken up by previous graduates.

2017-2018 intake

Holly McGrath

Degree: International Relations, University of Leicester

Placements: Finance team (Adult Social Care), Ofsted Reinspection (Wandsworth Children’s Services)

I am currently in my seventh month of the graduate scheme, having started in September after graduating. My first placement was in the Adults Social Services Finance team. This was a completely new challenge for me as I had graduated in International Relations, and had no prior financial experience. This is what is so great about the scheme, it challenges you in many different areas allowing you to develop new skills and gain knowledge that can be applied in your future career. Whilst with the finance team, I worked closely with the direct payments and client affairs team helping them prepare for upcoming audits. I wrote reports for senior management and engaged with councillors on my findings helping to improve services delivered to residents. Although I was based in the finance team, the flexibility of the scheme allowed me to delve into the social services side, therefore giving me the opportunity to see how my work on the finance floor impacted the community directly. Being able to attend day care centres, and working with frontline social workers, the scheme has given me the opportunity to experience a profession that I would have otherwise not explored.

My second placement is in the Children’s Policy team, where I will be supporting the Children’s Services department in preparing for the reinspection of the council’s social care services for children by Ofsted. This is a high profile inspection that will give me lots of exposure to senior members of staff within the council, as well as political exposure with the councillors. Part of my role will be to draw up and drive through a project plan for the pre-inspection preparation and co-ordination of inspection activities during Ofsted’s visit, giving me experience in project management and complementing the management qualification I am currently completing as part of the scheme.

William Owen

Degree: BA English Literature, York University

Placements: Alton/Winstanley and York Road Regeneration team, Adult Operations Division (Hospital Discharge Team)

My first placement was working in the housing department, working on the regeneration of the Winstanley and York Road estates (Battersea) and the Alton estate (Roehampton). I have had a brilliant time working on these developments and have learned how the council engages stakeholders such as tenants, community groups, contractors and government agencies to create good quality homes which benefit residents. During the placement I also attended meetings on issues such as compulsory purchase orders, decant strategies and resident communication, and I helped organise and participated in a range of consultation events on the two schemes.

My second placement is in the Adults Social Services team working with the councils’ hospital discharge team, the South London Partnership and the South West London Health & Care Partnership to help streamline and standardise hospital discharge procedure across six south London boroughs. The placement involves working with colleagues from the NHS and other local authorities to map out discharge processes and patient flow across south London in order to identify opportunities to synchronise discharge processes and improve patient care.

So far I have found the scheme has had a lot to offer, with interesting and varied placements which let us learn how different departments operate and how they are changing to tackle new challenges. Everyone I have met has been very supportive and keen to help me to develop my skills and experience, and I am looking forward to my next two placements and the opportunities they will bring.

Lewis Lunson

Degree: BA History and Politics, Nottingham University

Placements: Communities and Partnerships team, Local Land Charges data (planning and transport)

My first placement within Richmond and Wandsworth Councils was in the Community and Partnerships department. The six months I spent with this team was extremely varied, and I was fortunate to get involved in a range of community engagement and partnership work and projects, including Village Planning and the borough’s Community Plan on the Richmond side, and the Wandsworth Local Fund and Let’s Talk in Wandsworth. This was a very interesting introduction to both councils, providing me with exposure to both the similarities and differences with regards to how the respective councils engage and consult with their residents and stakeholders.

I have recently started my second placement in Information and Business Support in the Planning and Transport Strategy team, where I have taken up the role of coordinator for a project which is preparing Local Land Charges data for both Richmond and Wandsworth for transfer to a new Shared Staffing Arrangement (SSA) Planning IT system.

It has been a challenging yet rewarding six months at Richmond and Wandsworth Councils so far, during which I have been fortunate enough to gain insights into both the political and operational aspects of council work. I am looking forward to further new experiences over the next eighteen months.

Charlotte Adams

Degree: BSc Geography, Kingston University

Placements: Air Quality team (Environmental Services), Financial Management

I have been on the Graduate Programme for six months and have found it challenging and rewarding.

My first placement was based within the Public Heath team, working on a pilot project monitoring air quality levels around primary schools within the Wandsworth borough. This project enabled me to have an in-depth understanding of a topic I would not ordinarily have got the chance to work on. I was able to tailor my placement to my interests, and during my time in Public Health I also worked on other small projects such as HIV prevention week and the council’s anti-idling campaign.

My next placement is with the central finance team working on the accounts for the end of the financial year. This is an area I am not well experienced in but feel that the scheme encourages you to break out of your comfort zone and gain experience in all aspects of the council which is really exciting. I very much look forward to broadening my skill set in the finance team.

Katie Harrison

Degree: BA History, University of Cambridge

Placements: Local Land charges (Planning and transport team), Joint Commissioning team (Adult Services)

I joined the Graduate Development Programme in September 2017, after graduating in 2016 and working for a healthcare charity for a year. My first placement was based within the Planning and Transport Strategy department, working on a data review project for the Wandsworth and Richmond Local Land Charges Teams, who provide house buyers with an array of information and planning history when they’re buying a property.

This project involved liaising with a number of different departments across both councils. It has given me real insight into how the council operates and has provided me with valuable project management skills and experience.

I hope to build on these skills in my second placement, which involves managing a workforce redesign project within the Commissioning and Quality Standards division.

2016-2018 intake

Anna Charlesworth

My first placement was in the Wandsworth Communications team, where I had the chance to learn about how the council communicates directly with residents and also with the press. I wrote news articles for the council website, got involved with the different social media platforms and experimented with some new approaches, and experienced the ways that the communications team works within the broader context of the council. I also had the chance to work on long running campaigns such as improving air quality.

My second placement in Public Health and Business Intelligence saw me taking responsibility for my own project and meeting with external stakeholders to gather their views. In my first placement I’d completed training in project management, which I was excited to be able to apply. My project arose out of the Shared Staffing Arrangement, and saw me working across Richmond and Wandsworth. This gave me insight into organisational change and how to create efficiencies, as well as offering opportunities to work in partnerships and present ideas to others.

I joined Children’s Services for my third placement, as a part of the newly launched Wandsworth Children’s Social Care Academy. My role in the team was related to communications, drawing on what I had learned from my first placement and applying this to create communications plans and develop the department’s approach to social media. I also worked closely with the Graphics team in this placement to help brand the new academy.

My role throughout my time on the Graduate Development Programme has been really varied which has been brilliant for my professional development; the work has challenged me and I feel as though I’ve really been encouraged to share my ideas. I’ve also been well supported right from the beginning.

Laurence Wooldridge

Degree: BA History, University of Cambridge

Placements: Village Planning (Richmond), Digital Agenda (SSA), Special Educational Needs (Wandsworth), Regeneration team (Wandsworth)

My first placement was based in Village Planning, which is a Richmond policy which seeks to support community development and empowerment. Specific tasks included organising, facilitating and capturing conclusions from consultation events, researching for and writing an evaluation report of the programme, and producing a document considering the impact of a new phase of the programme on different demographic groups. The placement gave me extensive experience of programme management on a high profile council programme.

My second placement was based around the Digital Agenda. Working with a consultant, we carried out research into how the councils might be able to benefit from emerging digital technologies, and made recommendations for how connectivity as well as digital inclusion could be developed in our boroughs. The work required me to think strategically, gave me an opportunity to work and engage closely with senior councillors and officers (including presenting our findings to directors), and to represent the council at external meetings with businesses and partners.

My third placement was in Special Educational Needs (SEN) in Wandsworth, where I helped to lead a review of services in the department. Working on areas such as SEN Transport and Autism Spectrum Disorder pathways, I worked with service managers, residents and partners to identify key priorities and changes or policies that would help achieve them. Key skills I developed included financial modelling, consultation analysis and policy development. 

I have just started my final placement, in the Regeneration team.

Overall, the graduate scheme has been a fantastic start to my career, providing me with the platform to develop a range of skills. Additionally, I have had the chance to take responsibility in important areas of work, and the support network provided by the scheme helped me feel confident about doing so.

Previous graduates

Our previous graduates have gone onto a variety of roles across the public sector, including both Richmond and Wandsworth Councils. Those who have stayed within Richmond and Wandsworth Shared Staffing Arrangement roles have included Housing Development Support Officer, Corporate Support to the Chief Executive, Project Officers and Regeneration Officers.


Updated: 8 May 2018