So you’ve had the phone call you’ve been successful, Yes! Get-in! Your life is about to change!
But what happens next?
Do whatever you need to do, celebrate with family, friends, people on the street whoever you feel like, or just take a breather and pat yourself on the back. Anybody you speak to from the scheme new and old alongside leadership academy staff will all tell you the same, you’ve achieved a lot and beat stiff competition to gain the place you have, well done! This becomes particularly evident during the on-boarding event in September (yes there’s a whole lot of waiting to be done, but don’t worry this blog will lay what happens in between) where you find out that there was 85 other people who could have been sat in our seat (199 graduates in 2018, I’ll let you do the math to figure out total applicants).
Before I carry on, just a brief intro from myself; I’m Jordan a general management trainee, currently enrolled on a new pilot stream of course in urgent & emergency care. My first placement is within Yorkshire Ambulance Service where I am rotating around various different departments over 12months including; A&E frontline operations; Resourcing; Scheduling and EOC (the place where they receive the calls). I have a clinical background in Physiotherapy and prior to the course worked across Leeds Teaching Hospitals trust.
I have always had a passion for healthcare and making a positive change to somebody’s life. I wanted more than just to contribute to the care and want to make a difference to deliver change at a higher level. This prompted me to apply for the programme, immediately attracted by the courses openness to the hard-work, dedication, challenges but also immense reward that was on offer.
By the way this is my first blog, I’ve tried hard because I know how much they helped me when I was applying. I’ve even trawled through emails and mass of paperwork including scribbles and bold highlighted persuasive comments from the assessment day and that horrific meeting with “Jessie” at the assessment centre. I’m assuming you know what I’m talking about!
From May – September you will receive a monthly GradMail including all the latest graduate news. These emails will feed you with regular updates on scheme structure, the overall on-boarding time-line, details of your education for your specialism (e.g. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, CIPFA Finance Awards etc…), details of your placements in June/July and updates about the TRAC and BSA.
The latter two are essentially the people who will check ‘you are who you say you are’ and will provide your employment during the scheme. They will also send you various emails at certain times (don’t worry these will be detailed in GradMail), find further details below.
NHS BSa ( contracts and forms) health questionnaire
The NHS BSA (Business Service Authority) are your employers for the 2 years on the scheme. You should receive your formal offer letter from them sometime in May alongside prompts to supply your references, DBS application and pre-employment health check.
Although I had already supplied these at the assessment centre I was also asked to re-supply scanned copies of my driver’s license, passport and proof of address. So don’t worry if this happens to you, you still have the job!
The ‘Online talent management system’ – I still don’t know how you get GENI from that? This is essentially an online portal for recording annual leave, documenting your performance against set competencies throughout the scheme and also an access point to important policies and documentation e.g. Travel, expenses, accommodation.
Between receiving your offer letter and September you will mainly use Geni to find documents detailing your overall education dates , scheme structure(specific to your specialism) and the on-boarding timeline for your year. Take note of Education dates as these are compulsory, so be careful with annual leave.
I used the path-motion live chats once, it allows grads to post questions into a forum that can then be answered by leadership team staff. Really useful and helped me resolve a few issues and learn a bit more about the coming months. Other people posted questions relating to admin, such as annual leave & contracts. It’s also a great place to start connecting with some fellow grads.
Facebook groups will begin popping up randomly as those grads more inclined start organising them, again a great way to start chatting with people from your region. They are a more informal stream to voice your questions & concerns, it’s also quite nice to hear that someone is having the same difficulty as you (don’t worry somebody will always be waiting for their contract or not have received a form, you are not alone!).
Twitter is great platform both before, during and after the application process. I’d start off by following the @NHSgradscheme and build your network from there. @NHSgradscheme will post regular daily updates, advice and also useful links/resources that will help you through the scheme.
Once you find out your placements see if they have a twitter presence and start networking. Ask questions and more than likely you will get a response, lots of leadership resources on there!
Towards the end of June (again don’t hold me to account, some found out later) you will hopefully get details of your placement locations.
These placements are made in partnership with local NHS managers. Essentially NHS trusts bid to have graduates in their teams and your local leadership academy will allocate these in pairs – aiming to give you the best overall exposure to your given specialism.
This was done a little different in 2018 in that we were allocated both placements at the same time whereas previous grads had a say In their second placement, but don’t worry there’s still your ‘flexi-placement’ to utilise if you feel there’s an area you particularly want to experience (e.g. charities, private companies, NHS England).
My advice is to ring ahead and organise a meeting with your placements, it’s always better to put a face to an email and settles the first day nerves. It also helps the practical side of things like travel time, traffic, parking and how to access the building.
Regional on-boarding event
Dependent on your region this will take place at different time, either before or after the national on-boarding. Yorkshire and Humber’s took place in July, it’s a time to meet current grads from your area, gain more of an understanding your education and more importantly put some faces to emails. Hopefully your placement & programme managers will attend the meeting and there’s a checklist for you to go through to ensure you are familiarised with your role.
I realise this is a somewhat lengthy blog, but all the detail is there.
I found the whole wait from accepting my offer to on-boarding quite arduous. I was still working clinically in the NHS so I had a focus but at the same time I knew I would be moving on. I was lucky in the fact that my team were very supportive and understanding of my new career path, but I know a lot of you may be on a summer break with lots of time to think and reflect. Your kept well up-to date by the leadership academy and they are always just an email away if you have any concerns. Twitter is a brilliant platform to network, ask any questions and get a quick response.
Honestly, it didn’t quite feel real that I had the Job until the end of the on-boarding event, and I am sure you will be the same. There’s a lot of anticipation and build up to your first ‘official’ day, but it’s absolutely worth the wait!