Graduate Development Programme 2021

Welcome to the Scottish Government’s – Graduate Development Programme website. The application process for the 2021 Graduate Development Programme is now closed.


Is the GDP for you?

The Graduate Development Programme is right for you if you’re bright, collaborative and motivated to learn. We’re looking for talented people, with leadership potential from all walks of life, who want to make a difference to the lives of people in Scotland.

We want to reflect the make-up of modern Scotland in the talent we recruit and the work we do. We believe that by valuing diverse perspectives, we can better serve the people of Scotland. Furthermore, by having a culture that is open and inclusive we aim to make a fairer, healthier and more prosperous Scotland for everyone. To support this we offer a wide range of flexible working options and workplace adjustments. We’re proud to be a Disability Confident Leader, Stonewall Diversity Champion and hold a gold Healthy Working Lives award. So if you’re right for us, we’ll make it work for you.

What is the GDP

The Graduate Development Programme is an accelerated career path to leadership, with supported development and active career management. The programme sits at the heart of the Scottish Government’s Talent Development Plan. We want to recruit and develop high calibre individuals, offering you the chance to realise your potential while taking on real responsibility and tackling some of the biggest issues facing Scotland today.

We’ll invest in your potential by offering a clearly defined four-year development programme with active career and performance management. For the first two years of the programme you will rotate to a new placement every 6 months. For the second half of the programme, you’ll undertake two 12 month placements.

The programme is designed to help you to gain:

  • Experience – You’ll rotate through a range of diverse and challenging postings, allowing you to accelerate your career.
  • Capability – You’ll undertake a mix of organised and self-directed learning, helping you gain the knowledge and skills you’ll need to succeed.
  • Exposure – You’ll work with a range of senior staff within the Government, wider public sector and beyond, allowing you to develop a strong network and learn from others.

We're looking for talent everywhere

It’s our people that make us great and we want to reflect the make-up of Scotland in the people we employ and the work we do. We are interested in you as a whole person. And all the unique things you bring to work which will help us improve the outcomes for Scotland, and make this organisation a truly great place to work. We only employ people on the basis of merit; your skill, aptitude and attitude. Nothing else.

We particularly welcome applications from groups currently under-represented in Scottish Government, including ethnic minority and disabled applicants and those who have experienced socio-economic disadvantage.

Furthermore, we have a range of activities which promote diversity within our workforce. You can find out more about the actions we have been taking to remove the barriers to success for our underrepresented groups in our Mainstreaming Report 2017. This report also includes our aims through 2021.

Discover more!

Find out more about…

  • What we are looking for, in the about you page.
  • The Scottish Government and the Civil Service, in the about us page.
  • The selction process, including reasonable adjustments, in the selection process page
  • The programme through the words of our graduates, in the people stories page
  • A typical day on the programme, in the a day in the life page

Try out…

  • The GDP Preview Quiz This should give you a good indication of whether or not you would enjoy being part of the programme!