Graduate roles in social care

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Graduate Management Programme - October 2018

Our Graduate Management Programme gives graduates the opportunity to gain invaluable experience with forward-thinking health and social care employers.

Developed in partnership with the NHS Leadership Academy and the Department of Health and Social Care, it’s designed to fast-track graduates into leadership roles in the ever-growing health and social care sector.

During the 12-month programme you’ll achieve a fully funded management qualification and a health and social care leadership qualification. You’ll also develop the essential skills, knowledge and strategies to become an effective leader so that you can make a real impact on the lives of others.

"This is one of the most significant and enlightening periods of my life." Alex Johnstone

"I feel very fortunate that this scheme has allowed me to continue to progress in the sector I love." Laura Johnson

 Don't delay! Applications close at 11.00 on Monday 09 April. 

Successful candidates will start the programme in October 2018 and it will last for one year. 

You can expect:

  • real responsibility from day one
  • a full-time paid position for a minimum of 12 months
  • ongoing leadership development, coaching, business training and skills workshops
  • access to professional development and a network of supporters
  • an opportunity to complete two fully-funded leadership and management qualifications
  • 22 days’ holiday
  • the opportunity to become a leader in a sector that is changing people’s lives
  • up to two months secondment within a health-based role and associated research project.

When you’ve completed the programme, you’ll have the knowledge and skills to join one of the fastest growing sectors, as an influential leader. 

The programme consists of a 12-month work placement with a social care organisation, including a secondment within a healthcare setting. You’ll also complete two qualifications, which will challenge you to develop your knowledge and management skills.

You’ll start by doing a month-long induction, shadowing frontline care and support staff and senior managers, before getting involved in projects within your host organisation.

You’ll also take part in a secondment (of up to two months) exploring new and innovative ways to improve processes between health and social care organisations. At the end, you’ll write a report of your observations and make recommendations for process improvement.

By the end of the programme, you’ll also achieve a leadership and management qualification with the NHS Leadership Academy and complete a professional qualification in leadership and management with the Chartered Management Institute.

The programme will give you the tools and knowledge to kick-start a successful health and social care leadership and management career, where you can make real improvements at the frontline and improve care for those who need it.

"I’ve developed the skills that need to be developed in order to excel in a leadership role." Ruksaar Waka

"I have learnt how to handle multiple projects while developing valuable contacts and friends." Joel Trounce

Your placement – real responsibility

You’ll start your placement in a health and social care setting. Your placement manager will work with you to develop your objectives and activities for the year. They’ll monitor and support your development throughout the year.

“The most positive aspect of the scheme has been observing, supporting and facilitating the growth and development of an individual; noting the change/ development in the individual's knowledge and skills of social care as they progress through the programme; bringing a different perspective and skill set into our business.” Tracy Cole, Senior Learning and Development Manager, Sanctuary Care


The programme includes two qualifications:

  • The NHS Leadership Development Programme
  • Chartered Management Institute Level 5.

Graduate networking events

You’ll come together with other graduates across the year to share your experiences, reflect on your development and explore ways to progress in your placement.

Mentor support

As part of the programme you’ll select a mentor who will support the development of your leadership style, approaches and opportunities through structured reflection.

Mentors come from a range of health and social care backgrounds, including chief executives and managing directors of large national care providers and centres for independent living, directors of adult care, managers of integration, commissioning and housing organisations, or in city and county councils.

“I liked that my mentor asked me what I wanted to get out of the session and was flexible to talk around different questions I had. By the end of both sessions I felt I had learnt something new.” 2016 Graduate

Structured support network

You’ll have access to health and social care professionals to support your development. Skills for Care locality managers can help you to develop your role, your understanding of the sector and your leadership skills.

“I was exposed to a broad range of areas such as human resources, recruitment, quality improvement and operational management… These challenges are useful when determining what career avenue to take and to pursue opportunities that focus on strengths but also allow the opportunity to develop new skills, knowledge and experiences.” Marie Baker, previous graduate

Where health and social care meet – innovative research project

You’ll work with your placement manager, the NHS Leadership Academy and Skills for Care to develop a research project focused on the interface between health and social care, looking at process improvement and sharing your recommendations and successes.

This is a unique opportunity to work in a truly innovative space at the forefront of thinking in health and social care.

Are you:

  • committed to making a positive difference to people’s lives
  • compassionate
  • respectful of people’s dignity, aspirations and priorities
  • committed to personal and professional development?

If so, the Graduate Management Programme could be for you.

To be eligible to apply, you’ll need the following:

  • 2:2 or equivalent in any subject in the last seven years
  • Grade C* in GCSE Maths and English (or equivalent)
  • must be able to complete a full year with your host organisation

Applicants must have demonstrable skills in written and spoken English, adequate to enable effective communication in the workplace.

Applicants must also:

  • be able to provide complete details of their education and any employment history
  • not already hold, nor be eligible to hold, a Level 5 Leadership and Management qualification
  • not have previously relinquished or been released/removed from a training programme in the health or care sector.

We recruit from all over the UK and place graduates across England.

Initially, you may have strong views about where you want to work and we’ll try to accommodate this when placing you. During the application process, you’ll be able to state your local area preference.

However, our focus is on placing highly motivated individuals into the highest quality social care opportunities where there are the best leadership development prospects.

We recommend that you’re flexible in your application and fully consider where you could work for a year to make the most of this outstanding opportunity.

We seek hosts and graduates nationally and you will be asked to nominate 1 of 10 areas.

There are three steps in our application programme, to ensure that the programme is right for you and that you’re right for the programme.

1.  Online application

This includes an application form and an online test. Applications are open from 26 February and will close at 11.00 on 09 April 2018.

2. Video interview  

If you’re successful in the online application, we’ll invite you to complete a short video interview from 30 April to 24 May 2018. 

We recommend that you treat this video interview like you would any other. Please try and find a quiet place and conduct yourself in a professional manner. This is a great opportunity to bring your skills and attributes to life and give you the chance to really demonstrate why you are ideal for the graduate position – remember to be yourself and answer all questions honestly. 

All you need is:

  • a reliable internet connection
  • a laptop or computer
  • a webcam.

3.  Assessment Centre

You’ll need to attend an assessment centre, which will include a group exercise, presentation and interview. This will be a fantastic opportunity to show your skills and abilities, ask more questions about the programme and meet organisations from the programme.

The locations and dates are as follows:


  • Friday 29 June
  • Wednesday 04 July


  • Tuesday 20 June
  • Wednesday 21 June
  • Monday 02 July

The adult social care and health sector currently employs almost three million people. Together they represent an amazingly diverse sector, with a host of exciting, challenging and dynamic roles, organisations and opportunities.

We’re enormously proud of the quality of our graduates and their commitment to health and social care. 90% of those completing the programme in 2017 stayed within health and social care. A further 50% were offered ongoing jobs with their placement organisations.

Here are just some of the roles that our graduates have progressed into:

  • Business Analyst, Trafford Council
  • Care and Support Manager, Metropolitan
  • Health and Wellbeing Consultant, Camden Council
  • Volunteering Scheme Leader, Sanctuary Care
  • Workforce Analyst, NHS Grimsby Care Manager, The Good Care Group


If you would like to express an interest in the programme for this coming intake or require further information you cannot find on this page, please email


If you would like to offer a placement for a graduate please email