South East Leadership Academy

Graduate Management Training Scheme (GMTS)

The NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme is a multi-award winning fast-track to NHS leadership for graduates. The scheme is long standing and highly respected with Alumni of the Scheme now working across the NHS. Most notably, four of the last five NHS Chief Executives and the Chief Executive of NHS England are Alumni of the Scheme.

The GMTS is a key element within the NHS Long Term Plan to nurture the next generation of leaders by systematically identifying, developing and supporting those with the capability and ambition to reach the most senior levels of the service. Building upon the Kerr and Kark reviews the expansion of the NHS GMTS from 200 to 500 participants is a key action to delivering this goal (Interim NHS People Plan).

The scheme is 2-3 years long dependent on specialism with rotating full-time work placements and post-graduate education and leadership development. Our trainees are enthusiastic, innovative and motivated to improve patient care. We currently have two cohorts per year, one starting in September and one starting in March per financial year.

If you are interested in applying to become a Graduate trainee, please visit the national GMTS website for further information.

Hosting a trainee

Why should your organisation / system be involved?

As an organisation / system a trainee can provide new thinking and solutions to projects including ways of working, not only through their experience on the scheme, but through questioning and trying to find more efficient ways to improve the service for patients, whilst providing a talent pipeline of future leaders in the NHS. Read here to find out more about how hosting a trainee will benefit your organisation.

Who can apply to have a trainee?

Any NHS organisation can apply to host a trainee as a Lead Organisation. A lead organisation is the primary organisation / system which on behalf of themselves and the partner organisation(s) is responsible for sourcing the second placement and to ensure all placements provide the best opportunities for the trainee. The lead host organisation generally will be the first placement, however this is not mandatory. It is also possible, and actively encouraged, for lead organisations to work across the system to provide experiences in other areas, for example Primary Care. The trainee should gain experience in both an operational setting as well as strategic, and this is usually reflected in the individual placements offered.

What is a placement?

There are typically two distinct placements (dependant on specialisms), usually in different organisations, which organisations are requested to provide a statement of commitment for. There is a further flexi placement which is sourced by the trainee, which lasts for two months. One placement should always be operational, and we would recommend this is the first placement as some trainees will not have NHS or any work experience when they join the scheme. Second placements generally have a strategic focus.

Click here to view Placement Structure Charts for March and September starts.
Please note: Due to academic calendars only General Management, Human Resources and Finance can commence during the March cohort.

What makes a good placement?

There are many different elements that create a successful placement and the key areas to ensure the most successful placement are:

  • A broad range of experiences to help develop and challenge the trainee that also support the required competencies and educational element of the scheme
  • Experience in both an operational and strategic environment
  • A Committed placement and programme manager
  • Full integration within the team
  • Having a specific job role / title
  • Have a job description, clearly defined work objectives​ and assigned projects that support the required competencies.

Interested in becoming a host or would like more information?

If you are interested in becoming a host or would like further information, please contact Alastair Boothroyd or Christina Simcox [email protected].

If you decide to host a graduate, you will need to complete a statement of commitment.

We are currently taking proposals for placements due to start on the 6th of September 2021. The closing date for submission is 16th of April 2021. Please contact us for further information and guidance on drafting your proposal.

You can access the application form on line. Please click here to start your application.

Call for Assessors

If you would like to be involved in the future in the interviewing process or help with the assessment centres for trainees, please email: [email protected]

Call for Graduate Management Scheme Alumni

We are seeking to build a secure database of alumni of the GMTS scheme working in South East Region. If you are alumni of the scheme, please contact us [email protected] with details of your roles since you left the scheme. We would love to hear about the opportunities you have gained.

Please note: By agreeing to be on this database you may receive invitations to scheme related events and development and network events locally and nationally to support the wider scheme. The Leadership and Lifelong Learning South East Regional team (South East Leadership Academy) is part of the People Directorate of NHS Improvement and as such we are bound by NHSI’s privacy policy in all regards, please read the NHS England Privacy Policy for further information.

Future Trainees

Would you like to become a future trainee? If so, please visit the national Graduate Management Training Scheme website for more details.


Click here to read testimonials from stakeholders and see what they thought of the scheme

Are you interested in beginning your leadership journey in the NHS?

How to apply for the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme


Click Here for GMTS Programme and Placement Manager resources