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Rise and Shine: supporting the future talent in local government

by Kathryn Reed


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​More than ever councils are needing to do things differently to transform the way they deliver services, maximise incomes and embrace agile working. They are requiring more from their workforce, asking them to take on additional responsibilities, increased workloads and often for little financial gain. With the added pressures of a major global health crisis and an economic downturn, it is crucial that local authorities have a workforce with the skills, confidence and ambition to further drive transformation and change. So, as we start to clap for our heroes once again, we need to make sure we are shining a light on the successes of talented young people in local government. We want to support them to rise confidently in their career, help them to feel empowered to work in innovative ways and encourage them to collaborate with and learn from their peers internally and externally of their organisation.

In 2020, Tile Hill sponsored the MJ Awards’ Rising Star category, a category that resonates with our own values and beliefs. All the Rising Star nominations had incredibly inspiring stories and showcased the best of the sector. To create a final shortlist was no easy task for the panel of judges, and we were all moved and inspired by the stories of those on the list. To give something back, Tile Hill have created a series of Rise and Shine workshops to help the finalists develop their careers; to build an informal network with like-minded talented individuals, to help connect them with talented professionals at all levels of local government, to share best practice and to create a forum where they can gain knowledge and confidence.

As part of this, we asked the finalists a range of questions about their career aspirations, how well they feel supported currently and what they would want from a series of workshops. Despite working in different service areas, all the finalists share a strong public sector ethos and want to progress so they can make more of a difference to the communities they support. Career progression is important to them, but not at the expense of compromising their core values and beliefs, and they all wanted to find out more about how to move into a leadership role without losing sight of the people they are serving. With this in mind, we will be exploring what makes a good leader in our second workshop which will be hosted by Tony Oakman, Chief Executive of Bolton Council.

All the finalists were interested in finding out more about the steps local authority leaders are taking to make sure councils are representative of their diverse communities. This corresponds with the findings of Deloitte’s ‘Welcome to Generation Z’ report which found that people born in the late 90s onwards “prioritise diversity – across race, gender, and orientation – more than any other generation”. Equality and diversity in local government is clearly an important topic and one that we will discuss further in the upcoming workshops. While the majority of the finalists feel supported in their careers, a few were unsure of their next steps and hoped Rise and Shine would give them the opportunity to find out more about different career paths in local government. With this in mind, we have paired the finalists with a senior local government leader who can act as a mentor, answer their questions and offer advice and guidance from their personal experience. Something all the judging panel were delighted to help support.

There is a huge amount of pressure on local government at the moment but in many ways there’s never been a more exciting time for young people who want to innovate, create and positively impact their community. We have been incredibly impressed with the enthusiasm and talent of the 2020 Rise and Shine cohort and are looking forward to supporting them over the coming months. We would encourage local authority managers to nominate promising members of their team for the 2021 MJ Rising Star Award. There are so many unsung heroes within the sector, and talented young professionals deserve to be recognised for the value they create in their organisation and communities. The deadline for applications is the 23rd of April.

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