Local government can deliver fruitful careers.
Local government can deliver fruitful careers. Contributed

Councils and local government offer varied career options

IT'S a well-worn stereotype: council workers propped up by shovels and stop-go signs, spending their day deciding whether it's almost time to start work.

But there's a whole lot more to local government and regional councils than the workers out doing the hard graft.

Local councils are big business. They have budgets reaching into the hundreds of millions, provide services to hundreds of thousands of residents and ratepayers and require hundreds, if not thousands, of staff in a wide range of roles to keep the organisation moving.

From the top down councils offer a range of career pathways in trade, technical and professional positions, all of which contribute to the common goal of keeping a town, city or region functioning as smoothly as possible.

Much like in the business sector the chief executive officer is the head of the council corporate structure, with the mayor and the councillors forming the executive office.

The CEO is responsible for the day-to-day management and administration of the council and ensures that all council decisions are carried out. Unlike the mayor and councillors the CEO is not an elected position.

Together, the mayor and the councillors are tasked with making strategic decisions to ensure good governance of their electoral area.

The decisions are then implemented on their behalf by council officers from within operational areas of the organisation.

The council's work units are split into broad groups and take care of everything from parks and gardens to economic development.

If you like the idea of working for your community as a councillor the good news is anyone can apply. The not-so-good news is elections are held every four years, with the next not due until 2016.

If you're not a fan of job interviews turn back now. Nominating for a council election is just the start. You're effectively signing on for a drawn-out interview process, otherwise called the campaign, and, if you're successful, you land a job that comes with a four-year contract.

If you're looking for a more immediate start, councils employ staff in roles from IT to community services. Check your local council's website for information about current vacancies.