Recruiting graduates

graduateDeveloping future leaders in health and social care with the Graduate Management programme

Applications for our Graduate Management programme are now closed. Details about our 2020-21 programme will be announced in early 2020. 

If you would like to register your interest in hosting one of our graduates, or you're a graduate wanting to join the programme, we want to hear from you.

Please email for more information and to register your interest for the next programme.

About our programme

Since its launch in 2009, Skills for Care’s Graduate Management programme has seen over 120 graduates complete the programme.  

Developed in partnership between Skills for Care and the NHS Leadership Academy, and supported by the Department of Health and Social Care, our 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.

To ensure we get the best graduates for the programme, 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.

The programme provides your organisation with instant access to a talented pipeline of graduate management trainees who demonstrate the caring values and integrity you're looking for. They provide a valuable and, often much needed, resource to support your organisation and can make a real difference to the people you support.

Our graduates brought a 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 some areas for improvement, where processes had become overly bureaucratic. They helped us to understand the need to explain why some things have to be done the way they are, and to do that to relieve frustration that might otherwise exist amongst staff and service users.

Guy Kilminster, Cheshire East Council

Download programme flyer

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

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, 

Hertfordshire County Council

Find out more about the benefits of hosting a graduate by downloading our case studies. Go to our 'Resources to support you' section.

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, where you would like your graduate to work and what projects they may be involved in throughout the programme
  • a dedicated placement supervisor to support the graduate over the year. 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 coaches who will help with their leadership and management development. We choose mentors carefully and match them to participants.

I would now say thanks to Mary Seacole and the CMI programmes, I am able to visualise my leadership and that has enabled me to effectively adapt my style dependent on situations – through this I feel confident I will be able to positively impact any teams and services I work with in the future. 
Sonyia Taggart-Mint, graduate at Resolve Northern

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.

My personal achievement is how I have developed over the last 12 months, and I am excited for what lies ahead and hopefully the dreams I have realised from this journey will become a reality now that I am equipped with knowledge and confidence
Natalie Birks, graduate at St Luke’s Hospital

This year has enabled me to build skills and knowledge to form the basis of a career I will be passionate about. It has already opened doors for me through the additional qualifications on my CV and experience I can bring to the table.  
Rhea Millward, graduate at SuperCarers

We're proud to be launching our ninth cohort of the Graduate Management programme. Over the years we've collected many successful accounts of practice from both hosts and graduates. Our 2019-20 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. 

Download return on investment executive summary 2016-17

Download our case studies:

Download host guidance documents: 


Applications for our Graduate Management programme are now closed.

Further information can be found on our graduate page.