Freya in the Portland Building

August 28, 2018, by Jackie Thompson

My Experience on the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme

By Freya Parker, MSci Natural Sciences (2017) 

In my final year of my degree, I secured a place on the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme (GMTS) as a General Management Trainee. My experience so far has been challenging, fast-paced and, at times, I have felt out of my comfort zone. However, I am really grateful for how this has shaped my personal and career development. 

My first placement

After nine months on the scheme, I’m coming towards the end of my first placement as Service Manager for several services relating to hospital discharge at an acute hospital. I am really enjoying learning about the operational management of NHS services and the broader workings of large, acute hospitals. It’s definitely never boring. Especially as I have a very direct line of sight to the purpose of our work; our patients and the communities we serve. I will complete two more placements during the 24-month scheme as well as a postgraduate diploma in healthcare leadership from the University of Birmingham. 

My second placement

My next placement is my ‘Flexi Placement’, where we are encouraged to work in a non-NHS organisation for two months to learn something different to bring back to the NHS. I have chosen to go to a management consultancy; where I will be working in the commercial team on projects surrounding procurement and contracting of health and social care services. This will be out of my comfort zone (again) but it should be interesting and helpful for my career development. 

My final placement

My last placement will be at a Clinical Commissioning Group, which is an organisation responsible for commissioning the majority of health services for local people. On this placement, my focus will be primary care (which is your first point of contact in the healthcare system). I will have a strategic role; working with a wider geography with the aim of providing better healthcare services for local people. At the end of the scheme, I will be able to apply for permanent NHS roles nationwide, depending on where I want to use my skills and experience to have a positive impact on patients. 

So far on the scheme

Throughout the GMTS, I have been incredibly challenged and pushed beyond what I thought I was capable. While this has been daunting at times, it has been fantastic for developing my skills. After the first nine months, I can feel a noticeable difference in my confidence and capabilities. I am really looking forward to everything else I will learn and get involved in throughout the rest of the scheme! 

My top 5 best bits

  • University and other training residentials to complement ‘on the job’ learning 
  • Limitless opportunity to shadow and learn 
  • Large network of fellow trainees 
  • Dedicated personal development 
  • Wide variety of placements

My top 5 challenges

  • Being out of my comfort zone 
  • Learning to be resilient 
  • Balancing the ‘day job’ with university work and other scheme commitments 
  • Being the only graduate trainee in your organisation 
  • Moving to a new area

Are you interested in joining a graduate scheme? There’s lots of companies in the private and public sector who offer training schemes. Pick up a free copy of The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers or The Guardian UK 300 from our offices in September/October and start your search.

Posted in Final yearsPostgraduate taught students