Graduate Development Programme: candidate guide 2023

Guidance for candidates applying to the 2023 Scottish Government Graduate Development Programme.

About the role


Requirements of the role can vary as each work placement is different. As a participant on the programme, you will be given details in advance of each placement beginning about the role you will undertake and the duties required.

As a general guide, we expect graduates on the programme to:

  • take responsibility, make decisions and deal positively with challenges
  • show promise as a leader by working hard to fulfil your potential
  • prioritise your workload, communicate well, be resilient, and support others
  • be flexible and adapt to working in a variety of roles
  • learn quickly, balance different interests, engage with colleagues and live our values

The majority of placements that graduates undertake are with policy teams. Some of teams successful in the most recent bidding round are listed below:

  • Covid Inquiry Information Governance
  • Mental Health and Crisis Support 
  • International Development
  • Violence Against Woman and Girls
  • Climate Change – Blue Carbon
  • Security and Business Continuity
  • First Minister’s Policy Unit

Hear from past graduates:

You can watch our short videos to hear from previous graduates about their experiences of the programme:

Working pattern:

The standard working week on the programme is 37 hours over five days, but we do offer a range of flexible working options including flexi-time, compressed hours and part-time working patterns.

We are happy to consider applications for flexible working, if you would like to discuss this in advance of submitting an application, you can contact us at:


Work location will vary over the term of the programme as the base location for each work placement is defined by the location of the team the graduate is working with.

Graduates are normally centrally-based and so travel to either Edinburgh or Glasgow offices will be required.

The majority of our graduates are currently working a hybrid model which includes home and office-based working. The split between locations varies, based on individual circumstances and team requirements.

Staff members who want to be office-based full-time also have the option to do so.

Probationary period:

As with all Scottish Government roles, you will be required to complete a probationary period on joining the organisation. The probationary period for the Graduate Programme is nine months.


Sarah Wright:

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