National, regional and local government

There is a wide range of careers in central, national, regional and local government, ranging from general management graduate recruitment programmes to working in specific professions. Opportunities may not be advertised as graduate positions, but this does not mean that graduates cannot apply.

Working in government departments and agencies is underpinned by the aspiration of serving the local, regional and national community and the country at large, at home and overseas, in order to improve our social, economic and environmental quality of life. However, it may not be perceived as glamorous and some people may feel that the "institutional stickiness" of working in a political arena can be quite challenging. The public sector is also subject to changing economic circumstances which can affect funding and job opportunities.

The skills and experience required for individual jobs roles will differ, so it is best to refer to individual job profiles for more specific information.

Getting work experience via part time jobs and possibly internships will help you develop your skills and employability. Volunteering on a community project may help you to develop project management and administration skills. Experience of using qualitative and quantitative research skills, as well as communication skills, e.g. through your degree studies, could be beneficial.

Central government and Civil Service recruitment

Central government departments are responsible for devising policies and ensuring they are implemented.

Jobs in the different areas of central government including agencies and ministerial departments can be found on The Civil Service Recruitment gateway. Graduate entry is available through the different Civil Service Fast Stream schemes or through direct entry into the position.

For specialist roles within areas such as immigration and customs, entry at a lower level administration position via fast stream is usually required.

Please note that in the past there have been early closing dates for some of the Fast Stream schemes e.g. Analytical Fast Stream.

Regional and devolved government

The National Assembly for Wales represents all the people of Wales and provides a democratic and accountable body responsible for public services. The Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government have certain legislative and policymaking responsibilities. The Northern Ireland Assembly has devolved responsibility for day to day matters such as education, health and the environment. The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands also have their own government and legislative system.

Local government

Local councils form local government and are responsible for the delivery of operational services such as Housing, Education and Social Care as well as creating local policies to manage and inform the future development and service delivery of the locality. They may be known as county councils, city councils, district, unitary or metropolitan borough councils.

Non departmental regulatory bodies

These are not part of government departments and are not staffed by civil servants; however they deal with major issues and influence and implement major government initiatives and form public bodies such as:

Political careers

Political careers can cover interests ranging from progressing democracy and equality to governance and regulation, security and technology as well as health and environment working across local, national and international governments and global institutions.

This sector intertwines with a number of other sectors including International Relations, Think Tanks, International Development, Environment and Consultancies to name a few.

Typical roles include:


Live in the local Council ward they have been elected to represent. They may work across party with Counsellors from other political parties and Council officials to review policies and help to improve their local communities.

Member of Parliament (MP)

MPs represent their communities and constituents in the Houses of Parliament. They meet with people from local communities and raise issues of concern in Parliament or propose new laws. Some MPs are select committee members or have a specific portfolio such as Education, Health and Equalities.

Politician’s Assistant

Assist MPs by accompanying them to surgeries or meetings with constituents to note key issues of concern. They can also help to respond to queries via email, phone and help with research, assist with campaigns and press releases. Roles and titles may differ by location and across the different governments of the United Kingdom.

See also: