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The four-year graduate scheme gives successful applicants experience in working for the Scottish Civil Service.

The Scottish government Graduate Development Programme (GDP) is back and seeking new graduate applications for 2021.

As of 1 February, the Scottish government will be inviting applications to its GDP. Accepting a new intake every two years, this will be graduates’ first opportunity to apply since 2019. 

The GDP is a four-year programme. During the first two years, members rotate to a new placement every six months, followed by two-year-long placements in the second half of the programme.

The GDP provides an accelerated career path to leadership, with supported development and active career management. According to the programme’s website, the ultimate aim is that the programme’s participants reach senior leadership positions within the Scottish government.

The GDP is open to anyone who has achieved a degree (or equivalent) in any discipline by July 2021. Individuals from groups currently under-represented in Scottish government, including ethnic minority and disabled applicants and those who have experienced socioeconomic disadvantage, are particularly welcomed to apply. 

Details about what the application process will entail have not yet been made available, however, an application guide will be made available soon, according to the GDP website. 

University of Glasgow alumnus Jason Dashti was accepted onto the programme in 2017. Discussing his experience of applying for the programme with The Glasgow Guardian, Dashti explained: “When I began the application process back in 2017, I had little hope that I would get a place on the programme, as I am from a working-class background, mixed race, and LGBT, which is not the usual background that is thought of when describing the average civil servant.” However, after “one of the least stressful” application processes he had experienced, he was successful in securing a place on the programme. 

He recommends the GDP, stating: “There are few programmes that will offer you this breadth of experience in such a short span of time, while also giving you the autonomy and responsibility to work on some of the most high profile policy areas in Scotland.”

Dashti, currently in his final year of the programme, has experienced posts in Digital, Education and Early Learning and Childcare, Ministerial Private Office, International Trade and Investment, and Economic Recovery.


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