MSc Public Management
Birmingham City Council – graduate management trainee
At university Steven studied ‘BSc Communication and Society’, but in addition he was on the Union Council as Media and Entertainment Officer, managed the student marketing team and also managed two sabbatical election campaigns.
He developed an interest in how organisations run and communicate with its members and employees from these experiences and so after a stint in recruitment consultancy and then media sales work, he decided to look for opportunities in large public sector organisations.
He discovered the graduate training programme at Birmingham City Council via the jobs section of the Council’s website and was successful in getting a place. Such schemes are quite rare and recruit in small numbers, so this was an opportunity not to be missed. Work in local government had great appeal; it means you can feel that you are making a difference to people’s lives in local communities and also he enjoys the flexible working arrangements that fit in with his lifestyle.
At the start of the graduate scheme, he worked on an employee engagement project about establishing the Council’s core values – the BEST project, which he was tasked with evaluating the project across the whole Council – with 60 000 employees this is a major undertaking. The project involved working alongside specialist consultancy firms to conduct face-to-face interviews with staff, surveys, and focus groups to assess what positive effects the programme was having on the Council. The second project (most people usually do three projects over the 18-month scheme) was working in the Deployment Team of Customer First, a change management project tasked with implementing changes in customer service throughout all service areas of the council.
After a year on the graduate scheme Steven left as he was offered a position as a ‘Change Agent – Implementation Lead Officer’ for Customer First. This position became an opportunity for him through his work on the Graduate Scheme and was too good an opportunity to turn down. Although he has left the scheme, Steven is still funded to complete his part-time postgraduate study – a Masters in Public Sector Management at the University of Birmingham. One of the best things about the scheme is having a mentor in a senior role in the council who gives advice on career development and an insight into the role of senior staff in the Council.