HSPS graduate Laura Schubert shares 5 reasons why she recommends the scheme
Name: Laura Schubert
Degree course: HSPS
I want to give you an insider’s perspective of the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme (GMTS). This article might encourage you to apply or if not I hope it will show you some of the things to look out for when applying for jobs and in particular graduate schemes. I started the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme in September 2017 after graduating in June 2017 having studied Human, Social and Political Sciences. Here are some of the reasons I chose the scheme and some of the things I really value about it.
1. You can choose from a range of specialisms to match your interest
I have come across over 100 different job roles in the NHS, from speech and language therapist to IT support. Many people don’t realise the extent of and need for management roles and even within management the NHS needs people with different skills and interests. When applying for the GMTS, you can choose from 6 specialisms:
- General management
- Human Resources
- Policy and Strategy
The specialism you chose determines the type of placement you do during the 2 (for finance 2.5) years and also the type of qualifications you study towards during the scheme (more on this in reason 3). I chose policy and strategy, which means that two of my 6 month placements are at NHS England (NHS HQ) where my work is more strategic or policy related than in an operational role.
2. You work in a range of placements, but stay in the same geographical region
Throughout the scheme you have different placements in different NHS organisations (hospital and community trusts, commissioning organisations or NHS England). This means you get a broad range of experiences working in different teams, in different roles, with different services and different organisational structures. The time-frames and number of placements vary across specialisms, from 6-12 months per placement. However, for the whole scheme you are placed in a region (for me it is Yorkshire and the Humber) which means ideally you will not need to move home in between placements or need to commute too far.
Another benefit of the GMTS is the flexi-placement. This is a 6-8 week, self-organised placement in any organisation in England, during the second year of the scheme. You can chose what to work on, who you work with and where it is (it does not need to be in your region or with the NHS). This gives you the opportunity to follow your interest, to gain experiences to help your development and your career and to bring back skills and learning to your next placement and future work in the NHS.
3. The scheme invests in trainees with leadership training and academic qualifications
While doing my placement work, this year I am also studying towards a Post Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Leadership. This involves 3 essays and 6 work based assignments throughout the year, and it has helped me to increase my theoretical and practical understanding of service user experience and engagement, teamwork and team development, organisational structures and change processes. Next year I will be studying towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Health Policy, which involves more lectures and essays (but each specialism works towards a different, specialism-specific qualification). The great thing is that the scheme funds this academic study and other training.
With the other trainees we do leadership training in the form of experiential learning and action learning. I have learnt to be more analytical of my own and other’s behaviour, and these training days also give us trainees the opportunity to share placement experiences and support each other (during the day and afterwards at dinner and at the pub). The scheme also facilitates other support networks such as a national and a regional staff team to help you with all sorts, as well as buddies (trainees in the year above) and a programme manager throughout the 2 years to aid your learning and development.
Trainees are encouraged to learn through networking as well as their placement and academic work; we are given opportunities to shadow senior managers as well as front-line services and in most placements there is more flexibility of workload and type than in a full time job to enable the trainees to learn and pursue their interests.
4. The scheme has a good reputation
The NHS GMTS ranks 7th in the Times 100 graduate employers for 2018 and is well regarded within the NHS too (it has been going strong for over 50 years). As the value of the scheme is recognised across the NHS and the wider public sector (civil service and local authority), this gives you a head start with potential future employers. The variety of placement experiences and the training you get as part of the 2 year scheme sets you up to apply for and also get offered jobs that other people would only do after many more years of experience in the NHS and in management.
5. You get to work for the NHS alongside inspiring people
For me the most important reason I would recommend the scheme is that I have worked and am working with people who are share my passion for improving health and wellbeing for others. Most of my colleagues in my placements and also those who deliver the GMTS training are dedicated to public service. They will go the extra mile, work with others and stretch the boundaries of what has been done before to improve healthcare services to ultimately support people to improve their own health and wellbeing. Despite its challenges (and there are many), I have found the NHS an amazing and inspiring place to work.