In 2018, the Health Innovation Network (HIN) successfully won a tender from Health Education England (HEE) to deliver the Graduate Information Management and Technology Fast Track scheme (Grad IM&T Fast Track scheme). This graduate scheme sits within the Building a Digital Ready Workforce Programme (BDRW), alongside other programmes that build Information Management and Technology skills within the NHS. It is central to the Capacity & Supply agenda of the BDRW programme, to recruit and develop specialised technical skills within the NHS against a backdrop of skills shortage that is preventing the digital transformation agenda identified in the Topol Review and reflected as a significant part of the NHS People Plan.


HEE commissioned the HIN to deliver a London based pilot, consisting of recruiting and developing 20 graduates for London based NHS trusts. The expectation is that the design, delivery and evaluation of this pilot will create a model that can be rolled out to all English regions creating a national graduate IM&T fast track scheme, recruiting 100s of talented graduates every year.

This hugely competitive scheme has brought some of the best graduates in London into the NHS. Forty-five percent of the London students participating in the scheme have a 2.1 pass or pass with distinction, 29 percent have a first-class honours degree and six percent of the graduates had a Masters or PHD pass or pass with distinction. Fifty-two percent of the graduates selected were from BAME backgrounds and 37 percent were female. This is ensuring that the NHS workforce of the future is competitive, highly skilled, as well as representative of our local community.

The London based assessment centres ran by the HIN took place in September and December 2018. Over 1500 graduates applied to the scheme, and after rigorous testing, including four all-day assessment centres, fifteen graduates have been recruited into south London acute trusts, mental health trusts and South West London STPs.

The scheme has seventy-three percent of graduates at assessment centre being approved by NHS managers as being ‘great quality and an asset for any IM&T team’. One hundred percent of the graduates who were successful in joining the NHS as a member of staff were still in post within the NHS in March 2019.