Local Government Association transforms graduate recruitment with Gradcore

Aug 9, 2021 | Diversity

Committed to diversity and inclusion, the Local Government Association has recently refreshed its whole graduate recruitment process with the help of Gradcore.

The Local Government Association (LGA) is committed to diversity and inclusion and has recently refreshed the whole recruitment process with a specific focus on improving the overall diversity of the cohort it recruits to its National Graduate Development Programme (NGDP).

This work was commissioned following an extensive internal review of every stage of the process – but there was still more that could be done.
In the pandemic-affected economy, the graduate job market was always going to bear the brunt of the blow – some organisations pausing their recruitment or stopping it entirely, reducing their opportunities to enter the labour market.

The research from The Sutton Trust, looking into the effect of the pandemic on social mobility, suggests that this scarcity of opportunity only serves to exacerbate existing disadvantages felt by graduates from diverse backgrounds.

This would mean increased competition for places on the popular graduate schemes, with NGDP this year receiving more than 9,000 applications.


Additional support for disadvantaged candidates

Working with the award-winning social enterprise Gradcore, the team looked to provide additional support to candidates who are disadvantaged by recruitment processes, focusing specifically on graduates of Black or Asian Heritage, disabled or those who are the first in their family to go to university.

The cohort was invited to complete a diagnostic and sentiment analysis, identifying their current confidence levels and their prior experience of assessment centres. This analysis also helped identify their personal support needs and highlighted any challenges they felt about their forthcoming assessment.

The support was then shaped around the NGDP leadership behaviours sought by the assessment centre, offering the candidates a blend of immersive mock assessment experiences, one-to-one coaching calls and supporting resources – specific to the assessments they would encounter.

The mainstay of the support was delivered during twilight hours, as typically graduates from more diverse backgrounds have many other commitments or are less likely to have dedicated spaces to work or study at home, especially during the traditional working day.


Relevant coaches

Coaches were carefully selected to be experts in public sector recruitment as well as having extensive experience in higher education and working with students and graduates from diverse backgrounds.

It was important to have coaches that reflected the diversity of the candidates they were serving. This was to enable the participants to feel comfortable and confident they were in a safe space to learn and develop.

Each participant received personalised exercise reports containing their indicative scores, their own post-assessment reflections as well as developmental feedback from the coaches to help them succeed in their forthcoming assessments.

The workshops received near 100% attendance, all of whom would recommend the experience to a friend. The feedback from graduates has been truly humbling:

“Often times, if this wasn’t available, I would just go in blind. I would probably scramble a bit and it would probably hinder my performance. But now, after this experience I know that I can be confident and that will make me so much better in the assessments, and hopefully a much better candidate”

“This was an amazing experience, a new challenging scenario with people you haven’t met before – which is exactly what will happen in the real thing apparently – so this was absolutely invaluable to me personally”

Find out more about Gradcore

This is an excerpt from the ISE Complete Guide to Student Recruitment and Development

Read more case studies from ISE members

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