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Graduates secure NHS jobs after Internship Pilot

Friday, 03 September 2010

InternPilot2010.jpgOf 27 graduates who were employed on a six week NHS Internship Pilot in July and August 2010, nine had secured a permanent NHS position or short term contract by the time the scheme ended on August 20th, and NHS managers have been asking organisers – the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement – when the Scheme will run again.

This innovative pilot was established in response to research which showed that the NHS could increase its pool of people with potential if it established an Internship Programme that mirrored best practice. Sue Grange, Associate Director of Organisational Development at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, where two interns were based, described the Scheme as “a really positive way of helping aspiring managers get some relevant experience to start the journey into NHS Management”.

Interns were placed in varying roles and organisations across nine of the ten NHS Strategic Health Authorities (‘SHAs’). At Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, for example, an intern worked on a project to implement the Knowledge Skills Framework Appraisal action plan.  Interns with NHS South East Coast SHA were involved in a project looking at the Urgent Care Network. At Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, the intern worked on Human Rights, Equality and Diversity, re-writing the Trust’s Single Equality Scheme and associated action plan.  One CEO asked the intern to shadow him for the day and many interns were given additional projects because of the energy and ability they demonstrated.

Richard Mitchell, Head of Operations at Imperial College Hospital NHS Trust, described the Trust’s intern as “bright, determined and [she] delivered on all of the projects we gave her. I was amazed at the volume and quality of work she produced. She managed to accelerate a number of projects that had previously lost direction. She gave us an objective view of our group’s behaviour and culture.”

NHS Institute organisers, who included Rob Farace and Rachel McGimpsey, were encouraged by the diversity of these interns - 59 per cent were from a BME background, and there was a roughly equal split between male and female.

The interns were reunited on August 20th for a career development day, to give feedback on their experience, and to help start collating evidence of their contribution to the NHS during the internships.  As one intern reported, “I have learnt a lot about the NHS from this experience, particularly how different departments interact with each other in such a big organisation like this Trust. I have also seen first hand how important savings are for the NHS at this time, and how income generation can be a key part of this.”

NHS Institute Head of the Graduate Management Training Scheme, Alex Bush, commenting on the success of the pilot, said: “The NHS at the best of times needs to attract and retain quality people – at extraordinarily challenging times like the present, the war for talent is escalating.  Innovative ways of finding quality people become even more critical. This pilot, conceived and executed in just five months, shows that it can be done. We’re looking forward to evaluating the benefits of the internship to the NHS, and reviewing how it can be developed for the future.

“As one of our NHS managers said, ‘I feel the NHS is in good hands if the next cadre of managers are of the quality of [my intern].’” 

To find out more about the Internship Programme please contact Rachel McGimpsey or Rob Farace