People Stories

Ryan McMullan


What attracted you to the Scottish Government and what is the reality of working for the Scottish Government?

It has always been a dream of mine to work for the Scottish Government. As a disabled person I want to play a part in shaping our society and make it fairer and more inclusive.  In my opinion there is no better way to see an idea, a concept carried out and implemented to improve our environments and lives than working for the Scottish Government, I knew it was going to be difficult to get into but I knew I had the right qualities and experience and that it was worth persevering.

I have been working with the Scottish Government for over four months now and I have been really impressed by both my colleagues and working conditions. Everyone has been really accommodating, understanding and I have been made to feel like part of the family in my directorate, Social Justice. The flexibility of my team has been brilliant. As a disabled person that is the key to allow me to give my contribution fully and ultimately do my job. Although you put pressure on yourself for knowing that you are working for the people of Scotland, pressure within the organisation has been kept to the minimum as everyone understands we all are human and coming from outside into a new role can be bit of a culture shock.

I am very pleased that I made the decision to apply. Every day I see that I play a part in helping Scotland improve by interacting with various small organisations and charities. I also feel happier and healthier and a major part of this is the flexibility I have been given, plus using the swimming pool in Victoria Quay has been a wonderful added bonus.

Chloe Adam-Gallagher

The work of the Scottish Government reaches people of all backgrounds and across the whole country, so telling friends that I work here holds a certain weight. It always prompts a reaction and sparks an interest in what I do.

The truth is, I have done a huge variety of things, and that for me is the best part of working for the SG.

No two days are the same, and the ever changing landscape of working in government can mean reacting quickly to change and adapting to new challenges.

The day to day running of government includes supporting Ministers in writing or in person, advising on policy and preparing them for business in the Scottish Parliament. Reactive work can mean working with the press office to respond to news stories and answering public queries.

Working in events management and the UK Relations team has taken me all across Scotland, to London and to Dublin. The logistical challenges of delivering the British Irish Council Summit in Glasgow in 2016, an integral part of the Good Friday Agreement and hosted by the First Minister, has been my personal highlight – welcoming representatives of the Irish Government, the UK Government, the other devolved administrations and Crown Dependencies is a moment I look back on with pride.

Through developing policy, I’ve met inspiring organisations and passionate individuals, who work closely with us to affect change, impart knowledge and deliver shared goals for people across Scotland.  In my current role, we are working to deliver the expansion of early learning and childcare, which will be truly transformative. By almost doubling provision of funded early learning and childcare by 2020, we will ensure positive outcomes for children and enable more parents and carers to work, train and study. I’m excited to be a part of that.

The nature of the work means working closely with colleagues across the organisation, creating a supportive network and building friendships.

There is a nice culture here – flexi time and remote working helps to maintain a work-life balance, and there is always someone to offer support or chat with over a cup of tea.

Sarah Gilhooley

I’m Sarah and I work as a partnership support officer within the Employability division. I applied to join the Scottish Government whilst studying for my MSc Policy Analysis and Governance. Having previously working within local government, I was keen to pursue a career in the public sector, therefore I applied through the graduate recruitment process to work within the Scottish Government.

Upon starting work within the employability division, I was coming towards the end of my masters studies. As well as this I have an eight year old daughter. The flexible working approach and supportive environment within Scottish Government allowed me, to balance these commitments successfully; whilst learning and developing within my role at SG.

Having returned to education as a mature student and a parent, it was important to me that I obtained a career where I was able to work towards making a positive difference to the lives of people in Scotland. This is one of the things I value most about working in the public sector.

Since joining the Scottish Government, I have attended a wide variety of training events and conferences which have furthered my knowledge and understanding of employability in Scotland. This has allowed me to work effectively within my team. Thanks to the nature of working in Scottish Government I have had the opportunity to work across various teams within my division, learning new skills and gaining further knowledge of the workings of Scottish Government.

In my experience the Scottish Government is an excellent and supportive employer. The flexibility allows me to balance a full time career with family life, whilst enjoying the benefits of a rewarding career.


Nadiyah Abdullatif

I’m Nadiyah and I’m a policy officer for Local Government Finance. I applied to the Scottish Government towards the end of my Masters programme when I was looking for my first graduate role. Following a very positive internship experience with Scottish Enterprise I was convinced that I wanted to work in the public sector, where I knew my work would have significant and positive impacts on the everyday lives of the public, and I was particularly drawn to policymaking roles.

Following my interview I was delighted to be offered a role but found myself in a dilemma: my circumstances had changed soon after I had completed my interview leading me to request a leave of absence from university, and I was due to return to study a few months later to complete the programme. When I explained my situation to the recruitment staff, I was met with a very understanding and adaptable attitude. I was put in touch with my director to discuss how we could work around my commitments through a flexible working pattern. As a result, I was able to accept the post, working part-time initially, and I have now transitioned to working full-time. Over the past four months I’ve felt really supported and in addition to a part-time working pattern I was able to use flexi-leave and study leave to keep on top of my studies and I am now about to submit my dissertation. Meanwhile, at work I have managed to take advantage of the variety of training courses and even look into job shadowing opportunities in other departments which really opened my eyes to the countless opportunities to work on interesting projects.

There is a strong sense of community at the Scottish Government, helped by staff networks and a staff social networking website with interest-based groups. Myself and a colleague even set up a fortnightly language café and have been pleasantly surprised at the level of involvement and encouragement we’ve seen from members. There is also a very strong emphasis on wellbeing here, with free counselling services available to all staff, on-site gyms in most buildings, and healthy, low-cost food options in the staff restaurant. Questions on wellbeing and happiness are even included on staff surveys. Based on my experience, and what I’ve observed from colleagues, the Scottish Government is an excellent employer – perhaps the most progressive employer I have worked with!