A new graduate training scheme run by NHS Gloucestershire CCG is set to nurture new talent and bring benefits to local health and care services.

The Graduate Management Training Scheme (GMTS) is the first of its kind to be run by the CCG.  The new scheme, which went live in late 2019, received around 130 applications from graduates in search of coveted career development opportunities within the NHS.

Jo Underwood, Transformation Programme Director at the CCG said: “We already reap the huge benefits of national graduate trainees working for the NHS in Gloucestershire.

“By running a local Graduate Management Training Scheme we wanted to be able to attract and retain graduate talent in our county, with long-term benefits to our health and social care system as a whole.

“Graduates, like all colleagues, bring a vast range of benefits to NHS organisations but I would say one of the biggest joys of working with this particular group is their insight, ideas and challenges.  It keeps us all on our toes in a good way”.

It was essential for the CCG to look at new ways of recruiting because of the limitations brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Senior CCG colleagues collaborated with neighbouring organisation the South Central and West Commissioning Support Unit (SCW CSU) who designed and delivered the GMTS assessment process. This involved a fully virtual assessment centre for the scheme as the application process took place at the height of the pandemic.

The rigorous process included exercises for the 11 candidates, a written communication task, a data review assignment and a panel presentation.

Jo added: “Virtual recruitment would not have been our first choice colleagues and the candidates themselves rose to the challenge admirably.

“I won’t say it was fun necessarily, but it was fascinating that we were still able to thoroughly put candidates through their paces using a range of different assessments.

“Assessing virtually also set the tone for how we are working as an organisation at the moment, although we were really pleased to be able to bring all five together for part of their induction programme.”

Zack Pandor, Senior OD Consultant at the SCW CSU said: “Covid-19 posed a real challenge in that traditional ways of recruiting were not available and whilst virtual assessments had taken place a fully virtual assessment centre wasn’t commonplace anywhere.

“The result was a huge success for the CCG and the candidates.”

The GMTS lasts for two years, after which the five candidates will secure a permanent role within the CCG.  For the duration of the scheme the graduates benefit from a range of opportunities including mentoring, and learning project management skills.

Will Chapman, Senior Programme Manager (Self-care & Prevention) at the CCG said: “We really wanted to have a scheme we could tailor to a local context because we know that people’s needs within Gloucestershire will be different to other places.

“Through our Enabling Active Communities work we know and understand that tailoring a scheme locally will help local people in Gloucestershire and it’s important to get that benefit.

Will added: “We’ve had to adapt the scheme throughout Covid-19 but we have ended up with five really great graduates and we’re really excited about developing them, getting their new, fresh views and helping them to understand Gloucestershire.”