Sangeetha

Cohort: 19

Studied: BSc Geography with Economics

I started the scheme in the Leader’s office. I gained insight into the political sphere of the Council, which enabled me to interact with a wide range of elected members. I was able to work closely with Councillors including the Leader, Deputy Leader and other Cabinet members. I particularly valued this aspect of the placement as I built a thorough understanding of Councillors and the way they work. My key accountabilities included; overseeing Member’s workloads, dealing with casework, supporting a research project and writing speeches and briefings.

I wanted to work for Brent because the Council has a clear vision of the future. I particularly appreciated how Brent Council’s vision didn’t disproportionately focus on cost savings. Budget cuts are severely impacting local authorities across the UK, however Brent’s borough plan reflects how cost savings will not undermine the importance of working towards making Brent a great place to live and work. Where possible, Brent generates income and manages demand which has helped minimise the impact of budget cuts on residents. Most of all, Brent is a diverse borough where people with a range of backgrounds and circumstances live, notwithstanding the challenges. I saw this as a good opportunity to be able to make a difference to residents’ lives.

The scheme provides a breadth of experience and knowledge in a local government setting. Within a year, I’ve worked with three different teams- each completely different from one another. The scheme has enabled me to work on a range of interesting projects- the level of responsibility given to me within the first few weeks is incomparable, which I think makes the scheme different to any other entry-level opportunity in local government. Working across various departments alongside a range of officers, managers and directors is also invaluable, as you often get to learn from them and their experiences.

Overall, the scheme has helped my development, and will hopefully help my future career prospects too.