MSc in Public Management
Birmingham City Council: Graduate Project Officer
After graduating with an industrial economics degree, Caroline decided to focus on a career in public sector and set about getting some relevant work experience to add to her CV.
As a student she had done voluntary work and was involved in SIFE (Students for Free Enterprise) and then decided to apply speculatively to organisations in the Midlands. This needed much perseverance as she found if the reply rate was 5%, that was a good result! She did a 10 week summer placement with a Regeneration Partnership and this lead to further employment upon graduation for six months. Building up this experience Caroline feels was key to helping her be selected for interview for the Birmingham City Council graduate training programme (even though she was unsuccessful for another National Public Sector graduate programme prior to this).
Since joining the programme, she has completed two placements and is about to embark on her final placement on the scheme. The first was for the ‘Safer Birmingham Partnership’ which involved research around the fear and perception of crime in the City, within the learning and development strand. It involved working closely with partners such as the police and fire services. The second placement was for City Centre Partnership, working on a project for a Business Improvement District in Southside. This involved project management and marketing work with private sector partners. Caroline’s final placement is with Corporate Policy and Performance, working on the Council Plan for 2011, working with elected members of the Council.
The MSc in Public Management is paid for by the Council, but still involves time spent outside of work to keep up with the work. Caroline feels a scheme such as the one at Birmingham, gives a variety of experience in the breath of placements available to you. In the immediate future such schemes will be under review, with public sector cuts looming, but as they re-emerge in future are a good way to give you an overview and allow you to develop an interest in one particular area of local government or get a breadth of experience across such a diverse employer.