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Graduate Management programme

Our one-year programme can launch and enhance your career within a health and social care orientated setting, where you can make a real impact on the lives of others.

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.

Applications are now open. Apply before Tuesday 31 March 2020.

What’s involved?

  • Working within a quality health and social care organisation, including a health orientated secondment.
  • A bursary payment of £20,000.
  • Attaining a leadership and management qualification, plus a project management accreditation.
  • Leadership development through coaching, supervision and peer support.

Download our person specification >>

Apply now

Contact us

Can’t find the information you’re looking for?

Speak to the graduate team!

e: graduates@skillsforcare.org.uk

t: 0113 241 1275




Hear from our graduates


Grace Neal, LinCA

Ruth Fulcher, Curado



Emily Paine

Daniel Little

Madalina Pop


We’re looking for bright, eager graduates. You should have a strong desire to work alongside others and be able to think and contribute strategically.

Are you:

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

… if so, the Graduate Management programme could be for you!

"This is one of the most significant and enlightening periods of my life."
Alex Johnstone, graduate at Somerset Care


  • 2:2 or equivalent in any degree subject (by September 2020)
  • at least a grade C in GCSE Maths and English (or equivalent)
  • must be able to complete a full year with your host organisation.

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
  • have demonstrable skills in written and spoken English to enable effective communication in the workplace.

The programme starts in October 2020 and will last for one year. You will have a work placement in a social care orientated organisation (known as your ‘host’) and a secondment within a healthcare setting.

You can expect:

  • the opportunity to become a leader, changing people’s lives
  • real responsibility in your role
  • a full-time paid position for a minimum of one year
  • on-going leadership development, action learning sets, coaching and mentoring
  • access to professional development, business training and a network of supporters
  • an opportunity to complete a leadership and management qualification with the NHS Leadership Academy, plus a project management accreditation
  • 22 days’ holiday
  • up to two months secondment within a health-based role.

Your placement 

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 and will monitor and support your development.

Once 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 has been a really valuable experience and I feel I have developed in many ways. I've learnt a lot of new skills and have had the opportunity to get involved in a variety of projects." 
Michaela Phipps, graduate at Salford City Council

"This year has taught me so much about myself - especially about the importance of confidence, leadership and kindness."
Laiba Hussain, graduate at Autism at Kingwood


The programme includes two qualifications:

  • The NHS Mary Seacole Leadership Development Programme
  • Association for Project Management (APM) – Project Management Qualification, PMQ Level 7

Graduate networking opportunities

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.

Coaching support

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

“The learning days in London both with external providers and internal sessions were really valuable not only for the content but for networking, and the coaching was very good.”
Joe Turton, graduate at Darlington Council

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.

“Having a chance to interact with the other grads in the cohort helped to overcome obstacles along with the coaching and action learning days. I think these elements all helped me to progress much faster than I would have done in a different job due to the support and reassurance.”
Rhea Millward, graduate at Super Carers 

Health-based secondment

Working with your placement manager, you’ll design a secondment within health care. This will support your development and understanding around 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.

“This year gave me the experience in social care that I wanted, evidence to back up the need for better integration with health and great connections with loads of organisations.”
Nadia Caceres, graduate at LB Newham

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

You may have strong views about where you want to work, and we’ll try to accommodate this when placing you. You can state your preferred location during the application process.

However, our focus is on placing graduates into the highest quality social care organisations 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.

“The programme is a really good opportunity for developing your skills in a wide range of areas, so it’s really good to be open-minded and be open to the option of relocating.”
Kadie Ratchford, graduate at East Cheshire Council

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 9.00 Monday 20 January 2020 and will close at midnight on Tuesday 31 March 2020.

2. Video interview 

If you’re successful in the online application, we’ll invite you to complete a short video interview.

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 an opportunity to bring your skills and attributes to life and give you the chance to really demonstrate why you are ideal for the programme – remember to be yourself and answer all questions honestly. 

What you need:

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

3.  Assessment centre

If you’re successful in the video interview, you will then be invited 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 host organisations.

There will be three locations: London, Leeds and Birmingham in June 2020. You only need to attend one. The venues and dates are to be confirmed. 

The adult social care and health sector currently employs almost three million people. Together they represent a diverse sector with lots 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 2018-19 programme stayed within health and social care, and 75% were offered jobs with their host organisations.

“Now, I am back at my placement host organisation and I am undertaking care manager training – poised to take on the role that I have been so excited to get into all year.”
Daniel Little, graduate at The Good Care Group

“My time throughout the programme has been beneficial to highlight the career I want to pursue in care.”
Grace Neal, graduate at Lincolnshire Care Association 

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

  • Operations manager 
  • Project support officer
  • Project lead
  • Care manager 
  • Business development corodinator 
  • Policy and quality associate 

We asked our graduates to sum up their time on the programme in one word. We'll let them speak for themselves: