Joining the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme gives you every opportunity to have a far-reaching and positive impact on the health of the nation - even while you’re training to become a leader of the future.

When you join one of our six Schemes, you’ll gain an in-depth insight into the workings of a much-loved, vitally important organisation - and see how every area works together to put patients at the heart of everything we do. You’ll learn from a wide variety of NHS professionals - both clinical and non-clinical – and from patients and their families too. Your work will change processes, inform big decisions, make vital savings and improve lives. And, as well as growing your understanding, experience and knowledge, you’ll build and grow a professional and social network – gaining both skills and friends for life.

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.

Once you’ve been allocated a region you will have to remain there for the duration of the Scheme. To ensure you get a real feel for the complexity of the NHS each of your placements will be in a different organisation based anywhere in that region.

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.



Your 20-day orientation period is designed to be an introduction to how the NHS operates, and how various components contribute to the delivery of care. It’s a unique opportunity for you to be actively involved in front line care, viewing services through the eyes of the patient, care giver or partner organisation.

Through hands-on experience within different areas of the NHS,  you’ll learn how health, social care and other related services operate on a day-to-day basis. You’ll have the chance to see every part of the NHS behind the scenes, to help fast track your induction into the organisation  and put you in a position where you can begin to formulate improvements based on first-hand experience. You’ll also work alongside porters, nurses, doctors, managers, physiotherapists, social workers, midwives, directors, ambulance staff, and a variety of other people, to understand exactly how patients are treated within the NHS and related organisations.

This is a unique opportunity to really get involved, and to gain a better understanding of how the NHS works. After all, in what other induction programme would you work across a range of services from maternity unit to mortuary, or sit in on surgery, observe a board meeting, or ride in the back of an ambulance?

It all adds up to invaluable experience and knowledge for your future leadership role in the NHS.



Learning to lead the future.  Leading to improve lives. 

We aim to provide a well-rounded learning package covering all of the criteria associated with successful leadership. 

To prepare you for the journey towards becoming a leader of the future, to improve people’s health and their experience of the NHS, we commission a range of academic, professional and personal education and development opportunities from some of the best learning providers in the UK.

Leadership and an introduction to the NHS

The NHS is a complex organisation, and we recognise that you’ll need an intense and robust introduction to both how it operates and how it is structured, to get you up to speed. As well as growing your understanding of the different organisations and functions, you’ll gain a strategic overview of the NHS - and the policies and drivers shaping the direction it’s heading in. 

Before you start on the Scheme

We make our offers in spring, for places on the Scheme. And, if you’re successfully offered a place, we’ll keep in contact with you during the summer. Initially, this will be via access to a website packed with information about the scheme, trainee placements and the NHS. We also have a forum where you can discuss these topics with other trainees in a safe and informal environment. During the summer, you’ll also arrange a visit to your host organisation, to meet your new colleagues, discuss your orientation period and discover what you’ll be doing during your first placement.

We also ensure that you hear from current leaders in the NHS, both in the flesh and online, in the build-up to starting on the scheme in September.

Professional qualifications

After a comprehensive induction and orientation period, you’ll begin your placement and commence your professional learning, which is provided by renowned university and education providers. The Scheme offers a fantastic package of fully-funded education, which you’ll attend during day or block-release from placements and through distance learning.

Regardless of your specialism, you’ll be required to complete a fully accredited programme which offers a good mix of practice and theory, and leads to a Postgraduate Certificate in Healthcare Leadership.

In addition to developing your leadership skills, we also provide you with a formal qualification in your chosen specialism. Our 2017 intake studied the following qualifications:



Qualification Studied


CIPFA professional qualification (Chartered Institute of Public Financial Accounting) – predominantly delivered online.

General Management

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.

Health Analysis

Postgraduate Diploma in Health Analysis.

Health Informatics

Postgraduate Diploma in Health Informatics, through UCL and mostly face-to-face learning.

Human Resources

Postgraduate Diploma in Human Resources.

Policy and Strategy

Postgraduate Diploma in Health Policy.


As well as benefiting from a programme of formal academic education and fascinating, challenging placement opportunities, you’ll also take part in Action Learning Sets (working together in small, facilitated, multi-specialty local groups to support and challenge one another’s learning and development) and a package of Experiential Learning - giving you a varied programme through which to develop your leadership behaviours, knowledge, attitudes and skills.

In addition, current trainees take the opportunity to design and run their own specialism development days with key speakers.

Please note, for every intake we carefully review the qualifications and development we offer which means they may change from previous years as we strive to ensure our offering remains up-to-date and relevant for the needs of the NHS.

Personal development

Throughout your time on the Scheme, we’ll provide a variety of learning opportunities designed to enhance your personal and leadership development. These range from workshops to maximise your career development options, to key skills sessions on hot topics. In addition, you’ll have access to senior NHS managers who’ll act as mentors and coaches.



To be effective, learning needs to be supported, guided and directed. So, with this in mind, we provide comprehensive support designed to nurture and encourage our future leaders.

You'll benefit from the support of the following people:

Programme Manager

Your Programme Manager is responsible for your support, training, learning and development, and strategic direction. Generally a senior employee at your host organisation, a key part of their role is to identify the very best placement managers who can offer robust placements in line with both your Scheme and individual requirements.

Your Programme Manager will support you throughout your time on the Scheme.

Placement Manager

With a passion for developing fast-track learners, the Placement Manager takes responsibility for day-to-day management - the most crucial aspect of a successful placement. Working in partnership with the Programme Manager, they’ll design, develop and co-ordinate your work experience, as well as manage your performance against our high standards and challenging objectives.

You will be allocated a placement manager for each placement you have on the Scheme.


Providing guidance, support and direction, your mentor will most likely be a Chief Executive or an Executive Director – ideally from another NHS organisation. They’ll support you to realise your potential through regular, structured meetings.


You’ll have informal support and guidance from one of our current trainees, who’ll ideally be based in the same host organisation and from the same specialism as you.

Fellow Trainees

One of your most important networks and sources of support will be your colleagues on the Graduate Management Training Scheme. You can discuss your challenges with peers who understand and possibly share them. And at the same time, you can build lifelong friendships and professional networks.

In addition, there are other local and national support mechanisms designed to ensure that you thrive on the Scheme. But make no mistake, we don’t spoon-feed our trainees. We’ll expect you to be self-sufficient, and drive your own career and personal development.

NHS Graduate Management Trainees & Return On Investment

NHS Graduate Management Trainees & Return On Investment

It’s imperative that the NHS Graduate Management Scheme can prove its value with firm evidence. Join our scheme, and we’ll expect you to clearly make an impact, in whatever area you work, and demonstrate your value to the NHS.

Our Scheme generates savings per trainee in the tens of thousands of pounds, and retains more trainees than other private and public sector schemes.

Information and statistics produced by the Association of Graduate Recruiters have been used as a comparator, and demonstrate that the NHS retains an above average amount of its trainees at one and five years after they’ve left the Scheme. 

We know that our trainees make a difference to the NHS organisations in which they’re placed, and it’s essential that we’re in position to demonstrate this as hard fact.

Award winning

Award winning

As you'd expect from an organisation that leads the way, our Graduate Management Training Scheme does too - consistently scoring very highly, and making us one of the top graduate recruiters.

Below is just a selection of some of the more recent awards recognising our outstanding Scheme:

  • 7th in The Guardian UK 300 most popular graduate recruiters. We were number 1 in 2011, 2013 & 2014).
  • 7th in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers. 
  • We’ve been in the Top Ten of The Times Top 100 list every year since 2003.
  • Second in the public sector category in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers
  • Best use of social media in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 2015.
  • HR Graduate Employers of Choice for The Times Top 100 in 2013. (Also winners in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 & runner up in 2014).
  • Target Jobs Public Sector Graduate Employer of the Year 2012, 2013 & 2014.
  • Social Media Awards 2014 winner of "the best use of social media in a graduate recruitment campaign", and 2013 winner of "best use of social media in graduate recruitment in the public sector".
  • Winner of the Diversity Award, CIPD Recruitment Marketing Awards 2010.
  • 2009 Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR): Graduate Selection & Assessment Award. This is awarded in recognition of the rigour and fairness of the recruitment process. (Also winner in 2007 & runner up in 2010).

We’re immensely proud of our achievements and are looking forward to celebrating more. But it’s not just our Scheme that’s a winner. Our people are high achievers too. 

Our trainees regularly achieve outstanding results in their studies on the Scheme. They receive fantastic feedback from their placements. They lead projects that deliver outstanding outcomes for patients and generate substantial savings for the NHS. And, of course, they secure amazing roles when they finish the Scheme.

Already, the scheme has produced some of our most outstanding leaders including the current Chief Executive of NHS England Simon Stevens (who joined the Scheme in 1988) and his predecessor Sir David Nicholson. 

With every opportunity to change and improve lives as well as forge a highly rewarding and influential leadership career, you too could achieve great things with us.

Work Experience

Work Experience

To give our trainees invaluable insight and learning opportunities, structured work experience allows our trainees to undertake a number of jobs in host NHS organisations as well as a ‘flexi-placement’. Throughout, you'll have the opportunity to develop and demonstrate a range of both specialism and personal competencies, and meet work-based objectives supported by your Programme and Placement Managers.

Work Placements and Competencies

Your Programme and Placement Managers will design, co-ordinate and deliver your work placements, to support you to achieve - and demonstrate - significant personal development. Graduate Scheme staff, and a network of managers across your region, will provide additional support and guidance both during your time on the scheme and in launching your NHS career. In short, you’ll have a support network that’s second to none. 

You’ll work to a competency profile designed to equip you for both your specific chosen career area and the start of your leadership journey. These competency profiles have been specifically created by managers in the NHS and Department of Health, and professional bodies such as CIMA, CIPFA and CIPD, to ensure that they’re relevant for future chief executives and executive directors.


Your two month 'flexi-placement' will relate to your chosen specialism, and is an opportunity to experience innovation and improvement agendas in alternative organisations. You’ll build relationships, widen your horizons, and develop different skills and awareness through new experiences – whilst still developing specialism competencies. 

You’ll arrange your own flexi-placement and will have the opportunity to complete this outside the NHS if you wish. Some previous trainees have spent their flexi-placements in a variety of the UK's top organisations and have brought back valuable skills and experience to the NHS.

NHS England, Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), Deloitte, KPMG, EY, IBM, GSK – the opportunities are limitless. Identify an organisation you think we can learn from, make your business case and, if it’s accepted, you can go! 

You can read more about flexi-placements here.

Work/life balance

Work/life balance

Health and wellbeing is, of course, something the NHS knows all about. But we don't just look after the people who use our service. We're equally committed to taking care of our people within the NHS, and no one is doing more to lead the achievement of a healthy work/life balance for the benefit of all. As one of our trainees, your health and wellbeing is important to us, and we’ll ensure that you’re fully supported.

And we don't work in isolation to ensure the well being of our staff. NHS Employers represents trusts in England on workforce issues and helps employers to ensure the NHS is a place where people want to work. They also work in partnership with programmes and initiatives such as Investors in People (IIP) and their 'Health and Well-being at Work' framework, the Department of Health's 'Health, Work and Well-being' strategy, and the Positively Diverse programme. 

In 2000 we launched the Improving Working Lives (IWL) standard, which has since become a cornerstone of our work on becoming a healthy employer. Its effectiveness is recognised by regulatory bodies that use its standards to assess organisations. Plus, it has enabled NHS organisations to deliver their commitment to staff by offering employment practices such as:

  • Flexible working (including options for flexible retirement)
  • Valuing equality and diversity
  • Access to childcare and carer support
  • Tackling discrimination, harassment and bullying in the workplace
  • Training and development
  • Health in work
  • Staff involvement and communication

The IWL initiative has also prompted the NHS to invest considerably in improving work/life balance.