Company Profile

The organisation

The NHS is like no other organisation on earth. Born out of the ideal that good healthcare should be available to all, it is one of the world’s largest publicly funded health services. It has a budget of over £100 billion and employs more than 1 million people, making it the biggest employer in Europe.

The scheme

The NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme is equally unique and special. It has won multiple awards - most recently retaining the NHS’s place at number one in The Guardian UK300 most popular graduate employers.

The scheme has been designed to create the organisation’s future leaders, which means it enjoys a high profile. So do its alumni. Within two to five years of completing the scheme, recent graduates have already progressed to a range of senior posts, including Head of Department and Associate Director. The average starting salary on completing the scheme in August 2014 was £32,704 (excluding location allowance) and there are countless opportunities to progress.

The experience

Graduates specialise in one of four areas: Finance Management, General Management, Human Resources Management, and Health Informatics Management. Over two years (or 2½ years for Finance) you will undertake a variety of placements and study for recognised professional qualifications including the Postgraduate Certificate in Healthcare Leadership.

A varied and challenging education and development programme means you will gain specialist professional skills while growing as an individual. The NHS will also fund membership of appropriate professional bodies.

Along the way, you can count on the support of a dedicated mentor at Executive level, as well as opportunities to be managed and coached by some of the best minds in the NHS. Some truly unique touches set the scheme apart. Your induction includes 20 days in which you can set the agenda, experiencing NHS life on the frontline. Want to ride with an ambulance crew or observe an autopsy? You can. Later, you will arrange a ‘flexi-placement’ which could take you outside the NHS - it’s all about acquiring new perspectives.

The challenge

Make no mistake, this is an incredibly challenging opportunity. But the rewards are just as incredible. Because the scheme offers a fast-track route to a senior-level role, it is uniquely demanding.

You will take on significant responsibilities in a full-time job, across diverse placements, while undertaking training and study. This calls for strong self-motivation, deep determination and excellent organisational abilities. Given the organisation’s nationwide remit, you may be expected to work anywhere in England. To succeed, you will need the confidence to tackle complex problems head on and the intelligence to contribute new ideas. Above all, you will need the desire to improve people's health and their experience of the NHS.

Working for the NHS will often mean standing up to high levels of public scrutiny and having your decisions closely inspected. You must be tenacious, resilient and able to respond to constant change. After all, the NHS expects you to be a leader of the future.

Case Study

Case study: Fern Gibson

Name: Fern Gibson
Degree: Health Informatics Management, East Midlands

I know it sounds a real cliché, but I joined the NHS because I liked the idea of helping people and saving lives. Although all the placements I've done have been totally different, what they all have in common is the genuine commitment of everyone I've worked with and the way the environment is constantly changing.

Nottinghamshire is a very interesting place to work because of the mix of patients. Some areas have high levels of deprivation and that makes planning healthcare services so they are equal and accessible to everyone much more challenging.

At NHS Nottinghamshire County, I project managed a new system for Pseudonymisation across three PCTs. Pseudonymisation means using anonymous data for secondary uses [such as finance or analysis] by using pseudonyms to protect the patient's identity. This was a huge project given the amount of data involved.

As a Project Manager, there's always something unexpected cropping up, which means there's no such thing as a typical day! However, I'll normally get in around 8 to 8.30am, check my emails and grab a coffee before the office gets too busy. Then the rest of my day could involve anything from meeting GPs and clinicians or planning an implementation to carrying out project work or updating documentation. I'll always try to finish by 5.30pm so I can catch up on my university work - maybe doing some research or writing an assignment.

On top of studying for my MSc in Health Informatics, I've taken part in a wide range of management training courses. So as well as broadening my knowledge of the wider issues relating to health informatics, I've been able to develop my leadership skills. The on- the-job training has been great for my professional development too, because of all the different people I've encountered.

My greatest achievement so far? Finishing a project for my flexi placement organisation to the brief and on time. And getting great feedback from them!

I'd love to continue my career in the NHS and my ambition is to be a Director of Informatics or CIO for an NHS Trust. If you're thinking of a management career in Healthcare you should definitely apply and seize the opportunities offered to you on your placements. You only get out as much as you put in, so if you really challenge yourself, it can be a great experience.

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