Public Sector

Public Sector Job Vacancies in Thurrock

loader graphic

What is the public sector?

Any organisation run by the government and funded by tax-payers’ money can be classified as public sector. Over 6 million Britons work in the public sector.

There is an enormous range of employers and job opportunities in the public sector. Most are financed through public money from national and local taxation and some are supplemented by charges (such as entry to leisure centres and museums, fees for parking, passports, driving tests or prescriptions, etc.). There are over 5 million people working in the public sector across many different employers, including local government which employs over 2 million, and central government with more than half a million civil servants. Here is a breakdown of many of the different types of workplace included:

  • The Civil Service: made up of over 170 government departments and agencies and the kind of work covered affects the whole country, including in the fields of employment, pensions, healthcare, education, security and fraud investigation. There are also non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) which carry out public functions but are not part of specific government departments, including tourist boards and the National Parks Authority, for example.
  • Regional Government: there are nine Government Offices based in the English regions. They represent different government departments including Transport, Education, Health, Culture, DEFRA, Work Pensions and tackle issues from a regional perspective. Each region also has a Regional Development Agency, set up to promote greater regional autonomy.
  • Local Government: there are over 400 local authorities in the UK, ranging from large metropolitan councils and London boroughs to county councils and small rural unitary authorities. There are around 600 occupations and thousands of different job titles in local government, working across different areas including education, environmental health, leisure, housing and social services, with a mix of professional, managerial and front-line staff and specialists. Areas include:
    • Corporate services:g. administration, finance, legal services, human resources and IT;
    • Education: in schools, colleges, libraries and centres for those with special needs. Teachers make up almost half of employees and others include classroom assistants, educational psychologists, youth workers, librarians and administrative staff;
    • Higher and Further Education: jobs are split between academic and non-academic. Academic staff are employed in teaching, scholarship, research and administration. Non-academic staff work in various positions, including libraries, human resources, finance, estates management, residential and commercial services, scientific and technical support, leisure, counselling, security, purchasing, marketing and public relations;
    • Emergency services: employ people such as emergency planners, firefighters, health and safety officers and scene-of-crime officers;
    • Environmental services: cover conservation, environmental health, highways and maintenance, planning and licensing, trading standards and waste management;
    • Leisure services: are responsible for managing public facilities such as leisure centres, museums, art galleries and tourist information centres. They also promote recreational and sports activities; and
    • Property services: include architecture, building and construction, maintenance and surveying.
       
  • Social services: support and care for the elderly, young people and those with physical disabilities or other special needs. Social workers, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, welfare rights officers, care workers, drug abuse workers and policy development officers.
     
  • The NHS: employs around 1.5 million people in the United Kingdom. Health provision is split between primary care, the first point of professional contact (e.g. general practitioners, dentists, opticians and support occupations, occupational health, health education and promotion) for patients in the community, and secondary care, i.e. specialised treatment normally carried out in the hospital. NHS staff are classified as:
    • Doctors including consultants, registrars, senior house officers and associate specialists;
    • Qualified nurses including midwives, health visiting staff, nurse consultants, nurse practitioners, modern matrons, nurse managers;
    • Qualified scientific, therapeutic technical staff(STT) qualified health support professionals;
    • Qualified ambulance staff ambulance paramedics and ambulance personnel;
    • Support staff including nursing assistants, nursing auxiliaries, nursery nurses, health care assistants and porters;
    • Clerical and administrative staff, for example, medical secretaries and medical records officers, and maintenance and works staff; and
    • NHS infrastructure support personnel: i.e. those in finance, information technology, legal services, library services, health education and associated support services. This category also covers laundry, domestic services, catering and gardening workers, specialised management staff, and practice managers in the primary care sector.

Some public sector occupations are not exclusive to the public sector, with many accountants, HR and IT specialists, lawyers and managers working for public as well as private services. Other occupations are exclusive to, or mainly found in, the public sector such as teaching, firefighting, nursing, community regeneration, police and social work.

The benefits

Help your community – As someone whose salary is being funded by taxpayers, a sense of responsibility to the community is instilled in public sector workers. The flip side of this is that you can directly affect your local community, or even the nation, for the good through the work you carry out.

Job security – Job stability is often referenced as a major perk as it is relatively stable. Whilst profit-based companies are prone to closure, public sector organisations have the stability of government-backing.

Working atmosphere – the public sector is regarded by many as less demanding than the private sector. The cut-throat nature of work in a private company can be stressful and damaging. And, although the standards of work are high, there isn’t the obvious competitiveness which is often found in the private sector.

Flexitime – Government organisations are quite accommodating when it comes to recognizing the different circumstances of their employees. Flexible working hours are common – usually based around a core time of hours, or on a ‘shift work’ basis. Part-time jobs and job sharing can be also found.

Work less, earn more – If you’re still not convinced about the benefits, then this may grab your interest: Public sector staff work nine years less and earn 30% more than private-sector employees throughout their lifetime, according to this report.

Staff training schemes – Public sector organisations are committed to realizing their staff’s potential. Employees are often encouraged, if not required, to enhance their skills set by participating in training programmes, progressing their professional development or achieving external qualifications. This can lead to further career opportunities.

Pension scheme – Although there has been some controversy over pensions in recent years, having a guaranteed pensions scheme tied into your employment is a substantial perk. Benefits in the public sector are 14% higher than the comparable private sector according to the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

Thurrock Apprenticeships in Public Sector

loader graphic

Learning Opportunities

loader graphic

Public or Private?

Although academics tend to gravitate towards either intellectually stimulating university work or financially rewarding private-sector jobs, the public sector is an equally viable option. Here on jobs.ac.uk, research jobs at the NHS, meteorological institutes and other public sector organisations are consistently advertised. The main attracting benefits are long-term, stable work with a high level of job satisfaction and a pension scheme.

The work carried out by those at the frontline of the public sector impacts on our everyday lives. With graduates required across public services, discover which job best matches your skills and experience

Public service jobs span a huge range of careers, from central and local government to those in teaching, health and social care and the police force. Graduate careers in the sector include:

7 Skills required for working in public service

It's a competitive field to work in, but if you're hoping to start a career in the public sector the right skills could work to your advantage

According to High Fliers' The Graduate Market in 2019 report, public sector employers are expected to provide one of the biggest increases in vacancies in the UK graduate market in 2019. However, while more opportunities may arise, roles are still competitive and you'll need to stand out from the crowd to be considered.

We asked three experts to identify the seven most important skills for a successful career in the public services and administration sector.

  1. Problem solving and critical thinking

'Public sector employers need graduates who can explore the root cause of problems, use their critical analysis skills to understand complex phenomena and offer and implement solutions,' explains Dr Jennifer Law, principal lecturer of BA Public Services at the University of South Wales. 'Students can develop these skills in a range of ways through academic study, helping to run a student society, being a course representative or through work experience.'

  1. Communication

'Communication skills are crucial to building relationships with service users, colleagues and collaborative partners,' says Dr Law. 'You'll need to be able to persuade and explain effectively, listen well and vary your verbal and writing style to get your point across. Students can develop these skills while at university, presenting and writing in different forms. They'll also get the chance to practice speaking and listening in group activities, seminars and workshops.'

ONE OF THE MOST PRIZED SKILLS IN PUBLIC SERVICE IS THE ABILITY TO WORK ACROSS BOUNDARIES
  1. The ability to influence others through reasoned argument

'Verbal skills are essential because, while people read reports, actual decisions are made through discourse in meetings, whether on a one-to-one basis or in large committees,' says Dr Hans Schlappa, programme director MSc Leadership and Management in Public Services at the Hertfordshire Business School. 'Being able to synthesise complex information and express your own interpretation of this in a clear and coherent way is the skill that opens the door to the top in this sector.' You can practice constructing a reasoned argument and communicating your opinions effectively by joining your university's debating society.

  1. Respect for hierarchy

'We often hear that hierarchy is a thing of the past but rumours of its death are an exaggeration, not least in the public services,' explains Dr Adrian Campbell, senior lecturer and convenor of the Masters in Public Administration at the University of Birmingham. 'Be sensitive to differences in job title, status and professional background when dealing with colleagues. Deference isn't needed, but diplomacy is.'

  1. Resilience

'Public services are changing rapidly and people working within this fast-moving environment need to be resilient,' says Dr Law. 'This incorporates the ability to bounce back from difficulties, take a positive approach to change, and to persevere and cope with pressure effectively.'

  1. The ability to work collaboratively

'Public service organisations are increasingly recognising that solutions to pressing problems, such as the gap in life expectancy between the richest and the poorest and the need to plan for the needs of the growing population, involve more than one organisation,' says Dr Law. 'Graduates can develop skills such as understanding the perspective of others, building relationships and influencing and negotiating by working with others during their time at university or through part-time or voluntary work.'

Dr Campbell agrees. 'One of the most prized skills in public service is the ability to work across boundaries with other public agencies or with external partners. This involves learning the language or jargon of the other party, understanding how they see the world, being co-operative but also being clear about what outcomes you need from co-operation.'
  1. Leadership

'Leading without controlling others is a key demand made on public sector managers,' explains Dr Schlappa. 'Placing one's actions within a strategic framework helps those who are involved understand the rationale for the direction of travel.'

Why work for a Member of Parliament?

If you're looking to embark on a political career, working for a Member of Parliament (MP) is a good place to start. Opportunities are available within your local constituency as well as at the heart of the action in the House of Commons

The 2019 General Election saw 650 MPs elected to the UK parliament, one from each constituency. MPs split their time between their constituency, their political party and Parliament in Westminster, and are responsible for voting on new laws and legislation, attending debates and campaigning for the key issues that the people of their constituency feel most passionately about.

As an MP's assistant, you'll be essential to the smooth running of campaigns, events and day-to-day life in the community.

Why work for a Member of Parliament?

Political issues are often at the front and centre of news bulletins, and the unpredictability of the field means every day will bring new challenges and obstacles to overcome.

You'll be making and implementing change that will have a real effect on the lives of those within your constituency, if you work in local government - or on a national scale if you're employed in Westminster. If you feel passionately about a political party, you'll experience a great deal of job satisfaction seeing plans and policies put into action that you've helped to bring together.

Working as an MP's assistant is often the first step in a political career. If you're working in local government, moving to parliament may be your next career move. The skills and experience you'll gain could see you working for more high-profile politicians, working internationally or embarking on your own political career.

Find out more about the responsibilities, salary benefits and working hours of a politician's assistant.

What jobs are available?

When it comes to political jobs, MPs typically hire a team of people, rather than a single assistant. The team is usually split between the MP's constituency office, for the purpose of meeting constituency members and welcoming other MPs, and the national political offices in Westminster. However, as MPs hire their staff directly, the structure of their teams, whether they hire full or part-time staff and where their team is based, can vary.

As a caseworker in a constituency office, you'll be responsible for providing advice and support on issues in the local community such as immigration, housing and benefits, as well as liaising with government agencies and local media outlets. You'll attend local and national events and help to solve problems in your local community.

Parliament jobs in Westminster are more directly related to assisting MPs with their workload. Your responsibilities may include:

  • keeping your MP up to date on key issues and policy developments
  • drafting and writing speeches, articles and correspondence
  • overseeing media coverage of your MP
  • liaising with the constituency office team on local and national issues
  • general diary management.

Titles you could be hired under include parliamentary researcher, parliamentary secretary and parliamentary assistant, each with their own set of responsibilities.

What qualifications do I need?

The role of a politician's assistant can be demanding. Because of this you'll need a well-developed skillset, including:

  • the ability to cope in high-pressure situations
  • adaptability at short notice
  • excellent written and verbal communication
  • high levels of organisation, including the ability to multitask
  • firm but fair debating skills.

You'll also need a degree to work for an MP. While the role is open to all graduates, a degree in a related subject, such as politics, law or social policy, will be an advantage. Your classification isn't essential, as in this field a first-class degree won't put you ahead of other candidates.

Instead, it's your work experience and enthusiasm that will make you stand out. Highlight any prior experience of shadowing an MP or completing a work placement in local government, or skills MPs look for in their assistants that you've developed as early on in your application as possible.

Don't worry if you haven't had the opportunity to gain relevant work experience. You could impress employers by getting involved in your university's student elections or sharing your knowledge of, and passion for, politics online. This could be through a blog, vlog or podcast.

How do I apply to work for my local MP?

Search for MP assistant vacancies at:

Local government websites display opportunities within constituencies. Alternatively, political party websites display vacancies for positions available nationwide.

However, many roles are filled via word-of-mouth, or through existing MP assistants moving positions, so won't be advertised to the general public. If there's a particular local MP or party you'd like to work for, consider sending a speculative application to show your interest.

You're more likely to be offered work if you can demonstrate a real connection and so approaching the MP of the constituency you live in is a good starting point.

In your application, explain why you'd like to work for your local MP in this particular position. Show that you're familiar with the MP's policies and beliefs, and what you could bring to their party.

Find out more about the policies and work of different MPs by visiting Parliament.uk - MPs and LordsTheyWorkForYou or local government websites. You can also browse the full list of MPs in the House of Commons.

How do I become a Member of Parliament?

If you're contemplating becoming an MP, you'll require a strong understanding of both local and national issues while having a knowledge of current affairs.

To be eligible to stand, you must be:

  • aged 18 or over
  • a British citizen, Commonwealth country citizen or from the Republic of Ireland
  • nominated by at least ten parliamentary electors of the constituency where you'll be hoping to be elected.

In addition to the above, you'll need to place a £500 deposit when you submit the documents for nomination. This fee is returned if you receive more than 5% of the total votes.

Some people may be disqualified from becoming an MP. See The Electoral Commission for more information.

The first thing you'll need to do on your path to becoming an MP is to make a decision regarding which political party's values most closely matches your own. While you can stand as an independent candidate, by joining a political party as a member (for a small monthly or annual fee), provides you with support and a platform for becoming an MP.

At this point, you'll be given access to opportunities for campaigning, can attend the party conference and will be given a voice for shaping the policies of the party. As well as online resources to aid you in your quest to become an MP, you'll also be given the chance to apply for candidate training - where you'll acquire the skills and experience required to stand as a party candidate.

When you're ready, you can state your intentions through your local party office or its national register and seek party approval. Although references are typically required to demonstrate your personal and professional capabilities, there's no expected route to becoming an MP and so you'll be judged on your own merits.

Once you've been selected as a candidate, you'll get plenty of campaign support from your party. However, you'll also be expected to dedicate your own time to fundraising initiatives, which may take place in public as well as online. You'll attend meetings, deliver speeches and need to be proactive in discussing your proposed policies with the local media.

There are rules to follow in terms of accepting donations, spending money and claiming expenses. See the Information Commissioner's Office's (ICO) Guidance on political campaigning.

 

;