About You

If you’re bright, collaborative and motivated to learn then this could be the graduate programme for you. As a high potential graduate, progressing faster and further than your peers, we’ll have high expectations of you.

We’ll expect you to:

  • Take responsibility for delivering results, make decisions and deal with tough challenges.
  • Show promise as a leader and work hard to fulfil your potential.
  • Prioritise workload, communicate well, be resilient, and support others.
  • Be flexible and work in a variety of roles that demand a range of skills.
  • Learn quickly, balance stakeholder interests, engage with colleagues and live our values.

Your qualifications

You’ll need, or be expecting to achieve, a degree (or equivalent) in any discipline by July 2021.

Nationality Requirements

This job is broadly open to the following groups:

  • UK nationals
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UKs
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland
  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with (or eligible for) status under the European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS)
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals


We strongly urge that EU nationals who may not have Settled or Pre-Settled Status make an application before 30 June 2021, to ensure their continued  eligibility to employment.

Early signs of leadership

Our ultimate aspiration is that you’ll reach a senior leadership position. So we’re looking for people who are showing the early signs of leadership. To get there you’ll need both the ambition and commitment to fulfil your potential.

Key signs of early leadership for us are…

  • Self-awareness:

You’ll understand yourself and the impact you have on those around you. For us, self-reflection and seeking feedback from others are the two most important activities you can do to develop yourself self-awareness.

  • Development:

You’ll be ambitious about your growth and development. To develop yourself and fulfil your potential you’ll already be putting in the extra effort that leads to higher achievement.

  • Collaboration:

You’ll seek to work with others to achieve more than you could alone. To do this successfully you will invest time in building relationships, handle conflict in a constructive manner and be happy to share control.

We're looking for people with potential

The programme seeks to identify individuals with the greatest potential for future senior leadership roles in Scottish Government. However, we are not expecting you to be the finished article, far from it.

If you are thinking about applying, why not take 10 minutes to consider where in your day to day life you are already showing the attributes we’re looking for. Remember, we’re looking for potential, rather than your confidence. Don’t worry, we can work on your confidence.

Here is a summary of the 5 attributes we will be looking for throughout the selection process…

  • Understanding & Developing self

For us this is about having a desire to grow and increase the contribution you can make, and an awareness of the impact you have on others. These are the foundation on which you will start to build your career.

  • Early Leadership

For us early leadership is demonstrated through collaboration, bringing diverse people together around a shared goal. This is both a necessity, due to the many individuals and organisations we partner with, and an approach which supports our staff to give their best.

  • Communicating & Engaging

For us this is about investing in relationships with a range of people, allowing you to understand multiple perspectives and others to understand you. Our work affects everyone in Scotland, so our actions must reflect a breadth of needs and interests.

  • Analysis & Use of Evidence

For us this is about being able to make effective decisions on the basis of a variety of information. Our work involves addressing complex, interlinked problems and that requires us to make best use of the available evidence.

  • Changing & Improving

Our environment is constantly evolving and we are always striving to get better at everything we do. So, we need people who share our desire to improve and are able to adapt and embrace change.

Discover more!

Find out more about…

  • The Scottish Government and the Civil Service, in the about us page.
  • The selction process, including reasonable adjustments, in the selection process page
  • Discover 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!