Cohort: 21
Studied: BA History

My name’s Isabelle and my first placement has been within the Transformation Team, working specifically with i4B Holdings Ltd and First Wave Housing Ltd - housing companies that are wholly owned by Brent Council. i4B is a really innovative way that Brent is addressing homelessness in the borough, as the Company buys and manages properties to help house families that live in temporary accommodation. This allows the Council to discharge its homelessness duty, whilst offering those at risk of homelessness an affordable, safe, and secure home.

One of the main projects I have worked on in this placement was helping to produce the 2020/21 Company Business Plans, working with officers and directors to write business strategy and establish the aims of both companies for the next financial year. It has been invaluable to gain insight into the running of a commercial company, and how they can work productively with more traditional public sector organisations.

I chose Brent as it felt like a really positive and innovative place to start my career. I had always wanted to pursue a career that had a positive impact on people and communities, but found that a lot of public sector organisations and graduate schemes felt quite detached from the people that they were representing. Brent Council, in contrast, felt much more connected to the local community. Another really positive thing is the graduate community here. Brent regularly takes on large cohorts of graduates, so there is a really strong support network from the moment you start – there’s always someone on hand with advice, or just a cup of tea, when you need it.

Being on the NGDP at Brent means being really valued at all levels of the organisation. Every placement here involves some degree of working with directors and other senior managers. Additionally, every graduate is assigned a mentor, who is either a strategic or an operational director. Having someone at a very senior level in the organisation to turn to for professional advice and support is a rare and valuable experience at this early stage in our careers. I think this early focus on professional development, alongside a scheme that offers varied placements with genuine responsibilities, means that the NGDP provides an amazing foundation for a future career in the public sector.