Host organisations

gmtsstepping stones.jpg Over 50 years, the NHS Graduate Scheme has developed to become a key provider of NHS Directors and Chief Executives. Many of the current NHS Chief Executives and Directors started their NHS career on the Scheme.

The Graduate Scheme will continue to provide a launch pad for future leaders who will improve the delivery of UK health and social care. To do that, we need NHS organisations that are willing to ‘host’ trainees. Here is what to expect if you volunteer to become a host.

Benefits of being a host organisation

As a host organisation, you’ll be able to:

  • Gain privileged access to a highly motivated group on individuals, who have excellent minds, outstanding potential and a burning desire to contribute.
  • Enjoy having no financial overhead – the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement funds trainees’ salaries.
  • Benefit from an established national training scheme which offers far higher levels of trainee support, study leave and management training than any individual organisation could ever afford.
  • Secure access to a national pool of well-trained managers. Not only will you have an opportunity to retain trainees when they graduate as permanent members of your team, but you’ll also have a network into your organisation. This will be very useful when sourcing high calibre candidates for your senior management posts.
  • Develop your staff as they have the experience of training, mentoring, assessing and supporting trainees.
  • Analyse your organisation and its performance, because trainees offer a new perspective on issues and ask questions about how and why things are done. This gives you a useful ‘mirror’ to your organisation and its performance, both as a service provider and employer.
  • Receive support from the NHS Institute’s national training network and external academic partners. A Leadership Development Manager will also be assigned to advise and support.


The Scheme is run to high standards and strict specifications, so we ask prospective hosts to complete a detailed but straightforward accreditation process. This ensures that the quality of placements, training and support is both consistent and in line with the requirements of the awarding bodies and the national standards for each Scheme. Organisations may wish to apply as a consortium.

The host’s role

Hosting a successful placement requires input and support from several managers within the organisation. Some of the key roles include:


As the Senior Supporter of the trainee in the NHS organisation, the Director Level Sponsor will advise and guide the trainee throughout the duration of the Scheme. The Sponsor may also become the trainee’s mentor.

Programme Manager:

The Programme Manager has the overarching responsibility for the support, training, learning and development of a management trainee for the duration of his/her 2/2.5 year training programme, and the identification the very best Placement Managers within organisations, thus enabling a world-class leadership development experience.

Placement Manager:

As an expert in developing fast-track learners, the Placement Manager has the day to day management responsibility for the trainee – the most crucial aspect of a successful placement. In partnership with the Programme Manager, the Placement Manager will design, develop and coordinate the trainee's work experience and performance-manage the trainees against the Scheme's high standards and challenging work objectives.


The role of the mentor is to provide guidance and support in the overall direction of the trainee’s career. The mentor may also be the Director Level Sponsor.

For more on these key relationships, click here.

Want to know more about becoming a host organisation? 

If you are interested in becoming a host organisation please contact your local scheme coordinator:

North Area: Sarah Bradley 0161 237 2215

Midlands and East: Liz McKiernan 0121 507 6400

London and South: Mary Figueira 020 7271 0372
Graduate Handbook

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