Laura S.
Policy Management Graduate Trainee 2017 Intake
Specialism Policy and Strategy

About Laura

Key Experiences

I'm right at the start, having just graduated from Cambridge
While this is my first permanent full time job, I undertook a 6 week internship last summer with a local charity doing event planning, publicity and website editing, during which I gained valuable experiences.
I have also volunteered with a student charity while studying, learning teamwork, collaboration and leadership skills.
My involvement in sports (Water Polo and Open Water Swimming) at university lead me take on two different captain roles, through which I learnt how to motivate people, plan ahead, organise logistics for away matches (travel and scheduling) and also successfully ran a £2000 crowdfunding campaign.
All of these experiences and others, as well as my time spent studying have taught me much about myself, what I enjoy doing and how I work best.

Current Position

I'm a Graduate Management Trainee with policy focus on the NHS Scheme
For the next two years, I am a trainee on the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme, and my stream or focus is policy and strategy. This means I will have four policy focused placements, two in NHS England, one in an NHS trust and a shorter self-organised one in another organisation. The scheme also involves management training with other trainees in the form of group meetings and 'experiential learning, as well as an educational component. Over the two years I will be completing a Postgraduate Certificate in Healthcare Management as well as studying towards a Postgraduate Diploma in Healthcare Policy.

For my first placement I am working in NHS England, where I am working with the Patient Choice team in the Personalised Care group, and the aim is to increase patient choice across services and also improve communication with patients about the choices they have or want.

Main Motivations

I have yet to start the job, but will update this then

Top Advice

Prepare for meetings and interviews, it always helps and is worth it
I don't have that much career experience yet, but what I have found when applying for jobs and doing my other activities is that being prepared is key. Being able to show that you know what is going on, and understanding the interests of the people with whom you're interacting can help you, your team and your project or task so much. In an interview, know beforehand how you will answer certain questions. Going into a meeting, make sure you've thought about what points you want to clarify, or what you want to come out with at the end, ideally setting or suggesting an agenda beforehand or at the start. Showing that you have prepared is always appreciated, and people will enjoy working with you more.

Greatest Achievement

I swam the English Channel with a team of 6, and organised the event
In July 2016, I and 5 others from Cambridge University completed a Relay Channel Swim. This involved one person swimming for an hour at a time, which the others guide the way in a boat , until we reached the French coast after 9 hours 30 minutes. The event is a race against a team from Oxford University, and I happens every two years. I decided to take on the role of team captain, and so as well as training and swimming, I organised the event: team selection, training, transport to Dover and accommodation, as well as a £2000 crowdfunding campaign to make it more accessible.
I enjoyed the organisation and in particular leading the team, encouraging my teammates to challenge themselves (i.e. jump and swim in a 12 degree river). It was amazing to see our first swimming of the event jump into the inky black water in Dover at 3am, and then to hear the horn signalling the start of the race between the universities. I enjoyed my one hour of swimming and despite losing to Oxford, I was very proud of the whole team when our last swimmer stood up on French soil.


Whatever your future leadership ambitions are, the NHS offers a fantastic start with a variety of challenging placements in an organisation that is wholeheartedly determined to provide equal opportunities to all employees. Selection for the scheme is based solely on aptitude and ability to ensure we have the best leaders for the NHS.

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