Graduate Management Programme


Developing future leaders in health and social care

Applications for both graduates and host organisations for our 2018 Graduate Management Programme are now closed.

Details about our 2019 Graduate Management Programme will be announced soon.

If you would like to register your interest in hosting one of our graduates, or you are a graduate wanting to join the programme, we want to hear from you.  Please email us at for more information and to register your interest for the next programme.

About our programme

Developed in partnership between Skills for Care and the NHS Leadership Academy, our Graduate Management Programme fast-tracks graduates towards leadership roles within innovative health and social care settings. It includes a secondment with our NHS partners, providing an important opportunity to consider the interface between health and social care.

The graduates are sourced from the UK’s best universities and complete a rigorous values-based selection process.  They are then carefully matched with organisations that can make a real impact and offer a progressive development route towards leadership.

The programme provides your organisation with instant access to a talented pipeline of graduate management trainees who demonstrate the caring values and integrity you are looking for. They provide a valuable and, often much needed, resource to support your organisation in meeting its strategic priorities, implementing strategies for improvement with a solutions-focus and making a real difference to the people you support.

Register your interest to host a graduate by emailing

Our trainee took a pivotal role in creating a new health project, and the support they received from Skills for Care was invaluable throughout their time here.


Sean Ray

We have seen our graduate grow in confidence over the year. She preferred a role in Learning and Development within social care. We were able to give her experience and projects that fitted with her aspirations and as a result she blossomed.



Jane Bentley     


  • a high calibre, full-time team member, contributing ideas, initiatives and opportunities for development in meeting and managing improvement priorities in your care context 

  • access to a talent pipeline of future leaders who consistently adopt a service-centric approach and are able to contribute to the effective leadership and management of quality care across the health and social care sector 

  • fully funded support for graduate recruitment and provision of a comprehensive integrated leadership development programme, including two professional qualifications 

  • funding for recruitment, learning and development and access to leadership and development training, with supervision and management support. 

Joel was a very positive experience… we are interested in at least exploring the opportunity of taking a grad this year as we have a big piece of work coming up.


Danny Gibb, Head of Adults Practice Development Team, 

Hertfordshire County Council

Find out more about the benefits of hosting a graduate by downloading our case studies and Return on Investment report for our 2016-17 cohort. Go to our 'Resources to support you' section below.

Before applying to host a graduate, you’ll need to ensure that your organisation can offer:

  • a one-year placement working within social care and access to strategic operations 

  • ideas of where you would like support in meeting your priorities for improvement in the leadership of quality of care 

  • a dedicated placement supervisor to support the graduate over the 12 months. They will have overall day-to-day responsibility for the support, training, learning and development of the graduate. 

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, Sanctuary Care

For more information, you can review and download our placement supervisor role description and host guidance documents.

Go to our 'Resources to support you' section.


Our tutors support graduates to work towards a Leadership and Management Level 5 qualification and the NHS Leadership Academy’s Mary Seacole Leadership development programme. Tutors will support trainees’ progression to develop as effective members of your team.

Locality Managers

We have a team of locality managers across England supporting our host organisations. Each manager has vast knowledge of social care and a network that extends across sector boundaries. Every graduate will be allocated one of our locality managers to assist in their professional development, networking and sector-based support.


All graduates will be supported by one of our mentors who will help with their leadership and management development. We choose mentors carefully and match them to participants.

I like the hands-on element of the scheme and the fact that as a manager you can make positive decisions. It will give me a chance to develop my leadership and management skills, and broaden my insight into social care and the challenges it faces.  There are a lot of really good opportunities and we’re very well supported to develop ourselves.


Charlotte Bailey

Our graduates can be from any discipline and are sourced from some of the UK’s best universities. They complete a rigorous values-based selection process, which includes testing, interviews and assessment centres to demonstrate a proficiency in our core competencies.

Graduates are carefully matched with organisations where they can make a real impact and offer a progressive development route towards leadership. All graduates will receive substantial support during their time on the programme from their host organisation, tutors and Skills for Care.

All offers to join the Graduate Management Programme are conditional upon participants having: 

  • achieved a 2:2 in degree subject of their choice
  • passed the online testing
  • provided us with two satisfactory references
  • completed the interview and assessment centres
  • met the assessment criteria.

For more information, download our matching guidance document.

Read more about what our previous graduates say here.

I used to work in the health service, but I’m passionate about social care, whatever the aspect. I’m looking to develop my skills in terms of management and working with people and want to make the most of the skills I have. I’m interested in how commissioning works and how services are set up and provided, so hopefully a career somewhere in that area.



Joseph Riches


We’re proud to be in our seventh year of our graduate management programme in adult social care. We have collected many successful accounts of practice from both hosts and graduates during that time. Our 2018 health and social care programme will, no doubt, offer more evidence of the positive impact that graduates are having on our sector.

You can review and download case studies and our return on investment executive summary for our 2016-17 cohort. This report outlines how our 19 graduates responded to the challenges set. They collectively added real value and saved their host organisations thousands of pounds as they improved systems and introduced some smart initiatives. You can read about some of the projects they managed and find out what they’re doing now. 90% of them have chosen to make social care their career.

Download return on investment executive summary 2016-17

Download our case studies:

Download host guidance documents: 

If you're interested in hosting a graduate through our next cohort, register your interest by emailing

Read our host guidance documents to support your application. 

Our one-year Graduate Management Programme for 2018/2019 has now closed for applications.  More information can be found on our dedicated graduate page on Think Care Careers