NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme

The award winning NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme (GMTS) has been running for 60 years and its alumni include three out of the last four NHS Chief Executives, including the current Chief Executive, David Nicholson. The Scheme recruits trainees for General Management, HR and Informatics to its two-year programme, or to Finance for they two and a half year programme.  The scheme offers a fast track blended learning experience to trainees consisting of rotational work experiences across the NHS system, professional academic qualifications, personal learning and development, and exposure to high level NHS stakeholders.

How is the scheme run?

The scheme is hosted by the NHS Leadership Academy but delivered in partnership across the NHS system by the Academy, along with the East Midlands Leadership Academy team, to provide an integrated holistic learning experience for the trainee.

Purpose of the scheme

The purpose of the Graduate Management Training Scheme is to identify, recruit and develop talented individuals who have the potential to become the future leaders of the NHS. The scheme is leading edge in its design and delivery, utilising a full range of learning approaches, and sets the standard for fast track leadership development at 'entry level management and leadership' in the NHS. It is continually updated to reflect the changing nature of excellence in leadership, and embeds the new skills, attitudes and behaviours into its fast track leaders at the scale and pace required to ensure that the NHS gets what it needs from the Scheme

It creates a deep, diverse and rich pool of talent ready to start the journey to senior leadership positions across the NHS. The scheme instills the following key factors in each of its trainees:  that it is their mission to improve healthcare for the benefit of the patient, to uphold the NHS Constitution and to live by the values of the NHS.

Scheme statistics

The scheme consistently outperforms other major graduate recruiters in terms of its overall retention rates. As an example, the retention rate for year one of the Scheme stands at 97.5 per cent, compared with 93 per cent of other graduate recruiters1.

Some of its recent successes highlighting the scheme's best practice approach to leadership development include:

  • Currently number 11 in The Guardian UK 300 most popular graduate recruiters. Number 1 in 2011, 2013 & 2014.
  • 8th in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers (we’ve been in the Top Ten of The Times Top 100 list every year since 2003).
  • 2015 best use of social media in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers 2015.
  • HR Graduate Employers of Choice for The Times Top 100 in 2013. (Also winners in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 & runner up in 2014).
  • Target Jobs Public Sector Graduate Employer of the Year 2012, 2013 & 2014.
  • Social Media Awards 2014 winner of "the best use of social media in a graduate recruitment campaign", and 2013 winner of "best use of social media in graduate recruitment in the public sector".
  • Winner of the Diversity Award, CIPD Recruitment Marketing Awards 2010.
  • 2009 Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR): Graduate Selection & Assessment Award. This is awarded in recognition of the rigour and fairness of the recruitment process. (Also winner in 2007 & runner up in 2010).
  • 2009 GTI Online Recruitment Student User Survey: ranked one of the leading online application systems, as voted for by students.


For the 2018 intake the scheme had over 17,000 applicants and have recruited over 200 trainees to the sceheme starting in September. There are now six specialisms to choose from: General Management, Human Resource Management, Finance Management, Health Informatics Management, Policy & Strategy Management and Health Analysis Management.

More information about the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme can be found on the NHS Leadership Academy website