Graduate Development Programme: candidate guide 2023

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

The application process

The Graduate Development Programme has a 4-stage application process:

  • stage 1: online application
  • stage 2: initial online assessment
  • stage 3: virtual assessment centre
  • stage 4: offers and pre-employment checks

Further information on each of the stages is included below.

Stage 1: online application

To apply for a place on the programme you will need to complete the initial online application which can be accessed through our careers website, Work for Scotland.

The application window opens on 3 April 2023 and closes at 23:55pm on 23 April 2023 After the closing date has passed, we will no longer be able to accept applications for the 2023 intake.

To complete the online application, you will be required to complete some personal details, upload a CV and complete a Personal Statement (up to 500 words).

For the CV, we are looking for information typically provided in this format, such as contact information, qualifications, work history and skills.

Read some helpful advice on how to write a CV here.

Personal statements may be assessed as part of the application process, so it is recommended that you spend some time in advance of your application planning what you want to include in this.

You might find it useful to reference the Leadership Behaviours (as detailed in the Who we are looking for section of this guide) or reference the skills and experience you can bring to the role and your reason for applying to the programme.

We highly recommend that you prepare your Personal Statement in an offline document in advance of the application, this will allow you to save a copy for your records and will also ensure that you do not lose any work if your connection to the system drops during application.

You will be asked to provide some diversity information with your online application, please note that this has no impact on your application, it is captured for monitoring purposes only.

Stage 2: initial online assessment

All candidates who complete an application will be invited to complete the initial online assessment.

You will receive an e-mail which acknowledges receipt of your application, this will also include a link to the online platform where you will complete the assessment.

If you have not received this e-mail, it is recommended that you check the spam or junk folder in your e-mail. If you still cannot find this please contact the recruitment team at:

When you click on the link to access the assessment platform, you will be required to register for an account. Please note: you MUST use the same e-mail address to register for the assessment platform that was used when submitting your online application. This is essential for us to be able to match your application to your test scores.

Once account set up is complete you will be able to access the assessment platform, which includes:

  • information about the programme
  • a practice assessment
  • accessibility information
  • the online assessment

The online assessment is composed of two parts:

  • the first part of the assessment covers questions on your personality and behavioural preferences
  • the second part of the assessment covers numerical and verbal reasoning, specifically how you analyse texts and work with the numerical data

Instructions are included on how to complete each section and it is recommended that you undertake the practice test first to familiarise yourself with the format.

Online assessments are not timed but you should aim to complete the test as efficiently as possible.

You should also read the Getting ready for assessment section in this guide before you start the online assessment.

Screen-reader users:

Please contact the recruitment team at: if you intend to use a screen reader for the assessment as an alternative version, optimised for use with screen readers can be provided on request.

Assessment results:

You will not receive the results of your assessment straight away. You will receive an e-mail after the initial assessment window has closed to advise you when your results are ready. You will then log into the assessment platform and be able to access a feedback report with information on your performance and the result.

Stage 3: virtual assessment centre

Candidates who have passed the initial online assessment will be invited to participate in the virtual assessment centre.

You will receive an e-mail inviting you to the assessment centre which will include a link to log into the assessment platform, where you can book a slot for the assessment centre on a day and time which suits you.

You will have the option to change your slot later if required, but please note that options will be limited as slots book up.

On the day of the assessment, you will log into the assessment platform and find timeslots for the assessment activities and links to complete them. The assessment centre will consist of a competency-based interview and an analysis exercise aimed at assessing your ability to comprehend and process information.

The assessment platform can be accessed in advance of the slot for your assessment centre, details and links to the assessments will not be available in advance but you will be able to view some useful information and test access.

Assessment centres are planned to be held in June and will take place on weekdays during core working hours (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).

Assessment results:

You will not receive the results of your assessment straight away. You will be contacted after all assessment centres have been held and advised of the outcome.

We are happy to provide feedback on your performance in addition to the final outcome of the assessment centre.

Stage 4: offers and pre-employment checks

The results of the virtual assessment centre will identify the candidates who will be offered a place on the programme.

If you have been successful, you will receive an e-mail to congratulate you on your success with a provisional offer of a place and details of the next steps.

Before you begin your employment with the Scottish Government you will need to complete a series of pre-employment checks and you will be required to provide some documentation at this stage. Pre-employment checks confirm identity, right to live and work in the UK, qualifications, work history and criminal convictions.

It is anticipated that successful graduates will commence their employment and start the programme in early September 2023.


Sarah Wright:

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