What do I need to be eligible for the Scheme?
You need at least a 2:2 degree or equivalent in any subject. You can read more about our entry requirements here.
What specialism should I apply for?
When you start your application you’ll be asked which specialism you want to apply for. As you won’t be able to change this specialism once you’ve applied, it’s crucial that you think carefully about your choice of specialism before you apply. Your chosen specialism will obviously dictate the professional qualification you undertake with us and the type of placement you have with us on the Scheme. However we expect you to be a leader first, and a specialist in your particular field second. We expect our graduates to work across silos and professional fields.
At the end of the Scheme many trainees decide to branch out into different specialisms from which they studied. Find out more about career paths of previous trainees here.
Is the Scheme right for me?
To find out if you have the right attributes and skills to be a success on our Scheme please use our match me tool.
What kinds of people get a place on the Scheme?
All sorts of people can get a place on the Scheme. What they have in common are key competences, including resilience, values and strengths that fit with the values and needs of the NHS. Above all else our successful applicants understand the values of the NHS, have a desire to provide excellent healthcare to our patients and have aspirations to lead healthcare teams and organisations. Please use our match me tool at to find out if you’re right for our scheme.
Do I need management experience?
No, the Scheme is designed to develop your leadership skills. However If you have substantial management experience, then you may find that the Scheme is not suitable for you. Please visit NHS Careers website for further opportunities.
Are clinical/current NHS employees eligible for the Scheme?
Yes. We’re keen to attract clinical and/or NHS employees on to the Scheme.
Will it help my application if I have some work experience in the NHS?
It isn't essential. However, knowledge of the issues & challenges currently facing the NHS is essential.
Is there an age limit?
There is no age limit to the Scheme.
How much will I be paid during the Scheme?
Starting salaries will be around £23,000 p.a. (excluding location allowance where applicable). For current NHS staff there is the opportunity of capped salary protection (conditions apply). Further information is available on request.
Is the Scheme very competitive?
Hugely. We receive many more applications than there are places. Therefore you have to be fully committed to joining the NHS and our Scheme, to persevere with our highly competitive and demanding process. It’s also helpful if you can be as flexible as possible around your preferred work location. Please use our match me tool to find out if you’re right for our Scheme.
Where will I be based?
We offer a diverse range of locations across England, more than most Graduate Schemes. When you apply you’ll be asked to nominate your three preferred working regions and we’ll try to place you in one of your choices. However, this may not always be possible and we may need to offer you a role outside your preferred areas.
Please note that you could be placed anywhere within a particular region. Once you’ve been placed in your region you will have to remain there for the duration of the Scheme working for at least two different organisations.
Please visit our locations map for more information on our regions.
Are there NHS graduate opportunities outside of England?
There are separate Graduate Training Schemes for the NHS in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. To find out more, please go to the relevant websites.
What support will I get during training?
You'll be supported by your programme and placement managers, mentor, education tutors, fellow trainees, and our large alumni network.
Will I obtain any formal qualifications?
Yes. You'll be supported in achieving professional and post-graduate qualifications that are appropriate to your chosen specialism.
All of our trainees, regardless of specialism, complete The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Programme - a fully accredited programme leading to a Postgraduate Certificate in Healthcare Leadership. For more information on this qualification please click here.
An example of the qualifications offered to last year's graduates is below. Please note these qualifications are reviewed on a regular basis.
CIPFA professional qualification (Chartered Institute of Public Financial Accounting) – predominantly delivered online.
Postgraduate Diploma in Healthcare Leadership, through the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson programme – to Diploma level. A mix of face- to-face residential, and virtual campus study.
Postgraduate Diploma in Health Analysis.
Postgraduate Diploma in Health Informatics, through UCL and mostly face-to-face learning.
Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resources.
Policy and Strategy
Postgraduate Diploma in Health Policy.
Am I still eligible if I’m already qualified/part qualified CIMA?
If you’re already qualified or have completed the intermediate / management stage of the professional accountancy qualification CIMA, you’ll be eligible to join the Finance specialism. Please note all of our Finance trainees have to study for the CIPFA qualification as part of the Scheme, and the educational component has been designed specifically for the NHS.
Am I still eligible if I already hold an Informatics postgraduate qualification?
If you’re studying or already have completed a postgraduate diploma in health informatics you will not be eligible to join the Health Informatics specialism. The educational component has been designed specifically for the NHS, so you’ll still need to take part fully. You can, however, apply to join another specialism if you wish.
Am I still eligible if I’m already qualified/part of the CIPD?
If you are Level 3 and/or Level 5 CIPD qualified you are eligible to apply for the HR specialism however you will not be awarded any exemptions.
If you are Level 7 CIPD qualified you will not be eligible to apply for the HR specialism but you can apply to join another specialism if you wish.
Am I guaranteed a job at the end of the Scheme?
During the Scheme you'll be employed on a fixed-term contract. At the end of the Scheme we work hard with you to help you secure your first management post in the NHS.
What kind of job might I expect to have at the end of the Scheme?
There's a wide range of posts to choose from across NHS organisations. Your experiences on the Scheme will help you decide what type of job you may wish take up after leaving the Scheme.
What kind of salary can I expect after the Scheme?
The average salary on leaving the Scheme is currently between £27,000 and £37,000. You can expect possible future earnings of up to £90,000 as a Director or £100,000 plus as a Chief Executive.
How do I apply?
You have to apply via an online application form. Please check the apply section of our website for full details.
How can I find out about the progress of my application?
As soon as you register with our online system you’ll receive an email with details of how to log in and keep up-to-date with your application. Each time you’re invited to the next stage of the process, you’ll receive your invitation via email and/or text. Please make sure you opt into our sms alert service when you start your online application.
How long will the Scheme last?
The Scheme will last up to 2 years for people on the General Management, HR, Health Informatics and Policy and Strategy specialisms. However, for people on the Finance specialism it will take up to 30 months, due to study for the relevant qualifications.
What is the recruitment process?
The full process is an online application form followed by a series of online tests, then a face-to-face interview followed by an all-day assessment centre. You can find more details here.
If I have applied for the Graduate Scheme in a previous year, can I apply again?
Yes you can. However, please note you can only submit one application per intake, we do not accept multiple applications to the Scheme for the same intake.
Am I still eligible if I’m already qualified/have completed the first stage of CIPFA?
If you’re already qualified or have completed the first stage (e.g. the 'Professional Certificate', 'Professional Diploma' or 'Strategic' papers) of the professional accountancy qualification CIPFA, you won’t be eligible to join the Finance specialism. All of our Finance trainees have to take this qualification as part of the Scheme and the educational component has been designed specifically for the NHS. You can, however, apply to join another specialism if you wish.
Am I still eligible if I’m currently studying or have completed the Mary Seacole, Edward Jenner or Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Programme?
If you are currently studying or have completed the Mary Seacole Programme Edward Jenner or the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Programme offered by the NHS Leadership Academy you can still apply to join any of our specialisms.