The award winning training scheme, now run by the NHS Leadership Academy, counts Sir David as one its most distinguished alumni.
There are 150 trainees for 2012, split across several specialisms: general management, finance, HR and health informatics.
The highly successful Graduate Management Training Scheme is a comprehensive programme that equips graduates with the expertise needed to become successful leaders in the NHS.
A combination of challenging work placements and educational components ensure graduates learn about the NHS and develop the confidence required to lead the ongoing transformation of NHS service.
In the past year the scheme has won a number of awards, including the ‘Large Employer of the Year’ category at the 2011 CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) Awards.
Most recently, the scheme celebrated a stunning individual success when Christine Oakley, 24, from the 2011 intake, received a commendation for achieving a perfect score – the highest ever – in a professional exam run by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.
The scheme also represents excellent value for money. Recent research published in 2011 revealed considerable return on investment for the NHS with average savings generated per trainee running into tens of thousands of pounds.
In just one example highlighted in the report: ‘Payback – Return on Investment for the NHS Graduate Scheme’, a trainee generated savings of £74,000 by improving systems and productivity.
On top of all this, the scheme also currently retains more trainees long-term than any other public or private sector graduate scheme.
The welcome event for the 2012 intake was held at the Holiday Inn in Birmingham and speakers included Karen Lynas, Interim Deputy Managing Director and Head of Programmes, NHS Leadership Academy; Nik Kashu, Deputy Director of Finance and Information, St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust; Tracy Allen, Chief Executive, Derbyshire Community Health Services and Yvonne Coghill OBE, Senior Programme Manager, Leadership for Equality, NHS Leadership Academy.
During his welcome speech to graduates, Sir David Nicholson was keen to emphasise the importance of good leadership and the trainees’ role in fulfilling the future ambitions of the NHS.
Sir David said: “We need to move away top-down styles of management and embrace a more collaborative and supportive approach.Programmes like this are crucial to securing the effective and dynamic leadership we need to ensure that the NHS transforms and improves for staff and patients alike.
“Effective leaders and dynamic leadership are vital to shaping the NHS. We must seek to move away from top-down styles of management and embrace a more collaborative and supportive approach to secure the future for staff and patients alike. With truly participative leadership, there is huge potential for the system to improve, and the graduate trainee scheme is vital to achieving that.”
Sir David was introduced by Jan Sobieraj, Managing Director of the new NHS Leadership Academy, which brings together for the first time all the national activity supporting leadership development in health and NHS funded services, including the Graduate Management Training Scheme.
Jan said: “One of our strategic objectives is to lead on the professionalisation of leadership. Professionalising clinical and managerial leadership means raising the profile, performance and impact of leaders in health. As graduate trainees you will have a key role to play in achieving this.
“In future the schemes will be part of the Academy’s three core programmes for leadership, which will, for the first time, create a cadre of leader at every level and from every professional background who are universally and comprehensively equipped to lead. These programmes will follow the principles of good practice and expertise in leadership found in high performing organisations.”
For more information about the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme visit www.nhsgraduates.co.uk