Recruiting graduates

graduateThe Graduate Management programme

Applications for organisations to host a graduate and develop future leaders in health and social care are now open until Monday 6 April 2020.

Could you host a graduate?

We’re looking for innovative social care orientated organisations to host our graduates for one year, starting in October 2020.

The programme fast-tracks ambitious graduates towards leadership roles in the health and social care sector, providing organisations access to a talented pipeline of graduates who demonstrate the caring values and integrity you’re looking for. 

They provide a valuable resource to support organisations and can make a real difference to the people you support. 

Interested? Please complete our application form before Monday 6 April 2020

If you have any questions or wish to speak to the programme manager, please email


Hear from Melanie Weatherley, MBE (LinCA)

 Hear from Yvonne Obuaya (Curado)



Since its launch in 2009, Skills for Care’s Graduate Management programme has seen over 140 graduates on the programme.

It’s run in partnership between Skills for Care and the NHS Leadership Academy, and supported by the Department of Health and Social Care. It includes a secondment with our NHS partners, providing an important opportunity to consider the interface between health and social care.

To ensure we get the best graduates with the right values, they must complete a rigorous values-based selection process including video interviews and an assessment centre. The successful applicants are then carefully matched with organisations that can make a real impact and offer a progressive development route towards leadership. 

Our graduates have brought youthful enthusiasm to the team, reminding us that having the right attitude is so important in work. Their questioning of what we do and why we do it was helpful in identifying many areas for improvement. 
Guy Kilminster, host at Cheshire East Council

Download programme flyer 


  • You will gain a high-calibre and ambitious team member with the right attitude and values for a career in health and social care.
  • Graduates can inject new ideas into an organisation, can adapt to change and can also increase diversity within the workforce.
  • Graduates learn quickly, they are enthusiastic and willing to take on new challenges.
  • Graduates bring transferable skills and knowledge and can often be a great catalyst for change and improvement.
  • You will receive funded support for graduate recruitment and provision of a comprehensive integrated leadership development programme, including two professional qualifications.
  • There’s dedicated host placement support to allow you to make the most out of the experience, and your graduate.

Taking part in the programme made us think about our key objectives as an organisation and clearly articulate how these could be achieved. We have also benefited from having a new perspective as part of our discussions. 
Melanie Weatherly, host at Lincolnshire Care Association  


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

  • a commitment to facilitating a one-year placement 
  • initial ideas of projects and credible work the learner can undertake
  • a dedicated placement supervisor to support a consistent learner journey.

The most positive aspect 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, host at Sanctuary Care

Review and download our host guidance documents under 'resources to support you'


Our curriculum tutors support graduates to work towards attainment of a Level 7 Project Management accreditation and the NHS Leadership Academy’s Mary Seacole Leadership Development programme. Tutors will support graduates’ progression to develop as effective members of your team.

Locality managers

Our team of locality managers across England support 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 coaches who will help with their leadership and management development. We choose mentors carefully and match them to participants.

My placement has helped me in achieving my dreams to pursue a PHD in health and social care. I'm so grateful for the support I've gotten from my hosts, Skills for Care, fellow graduates and coaches. I'm so excited to see what the next few years hold for me.
Laiba Hussain, graduate at Kingwood

Graduates can apply to be on the programme from 20 January – 31 March 2020.

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 to demonstrate a proficiency in our core competencies.

All graduates will receive substantial support during their time on the programme from their host organisation, tutors and Skills for Care.

To join the programme, graduates must have:

  • achieved a 2:2 or above in any degree subject (below a 2:2 may be accepted under exceptional circumstances)
  • passed the online testing
  • provided us with two satisfactory references
  • completed the interview and assessment centres
  • met the assessment criteria.

What our graduates say

I felt that the programme has developed me as a person, particularly my confidence. I have been empowered to take ownership of my projects and lead on them to produce significant improvements for service users.
Gregory Whalen, graduate at Middleton Hall

This scheme has truly helped me find a passion for something and enabled me to determine a career path that allows me to give something back and gain fulfilment. All of this would not have been possible without my amazing managers!
Lucy Hodge, graduate at HC One

The graduate programme has allowed me to develop as a leader and gain opportunities to influence and make a different in health and social care.
Alice Owen, graduate at Estuary House Association

Over the years we've collected many successful stories from both hosts and graduates. Our upcoming programme will, no doubt, offer more evidence of the positive impact that graduates are having on our sector.

Case studies:

Host guidance documents: