Project Summary

The purpose of the East Midlands Exploring New Pathways into Employment pilot is to provide valuable 6 month internship opportunities to local graduates from the University of Leicester and De Montfort University. It is hoped this will thereby stimulate these individuals’ aspirations to consider careers in the NHS. The pilot commenced in February 2013, and was completed with an independent final evaluation in April 2014.

Why is this important to the HEEM?

Given the success of the former East Midlands Health Innovation and Education Cluster (EM HIEC) graduate internship programme, and the positive experiences from both an employer and intern perspectives, Health Education East Midlands have been working in partnership with the University of Leicester's School of Management and Career Development Service, and University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust to deliver an internship pilot which is structured to provide valuable and relevant experience to local graduates.

Proposed education intervention

The pilot consists of a total of nine graduates for the 2013/2014 cohort, with internships based at Health Education East Midlands, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

Each internship lasts six months in length and will be structured to incorporate four educational components relevant in the context of the NHS and public sector. The programme will also be supported with five facilitated Action Learning Sets, which aim to help develop problem solving skills and encourage peer to peer support amongst the group.

The impact of the programme was independently evaluated between March and April 2014, to provide an overview of the benefits of the pilot as well as recommendations for the next round of internships for 2014/15.

Benefits to patients and service

The NHS, as one of the largest employers in the region, would like to be part of the solution to local employability.

The pilot is a means to test out innovative workforce solutions and support recruitment practice for graduates entering the NHS. It is also an opportunity for the organisation to bring in new perspectives and inject new innovative ideas into service delivery to better patient experience.

It enhances organisational presence within the region by contributing expertise to the development of local talent and by strengthening relationships with local Higher Education Institutions (HEI) partners.

It provides an opportunity to develop individuals who may become part of the future NHS workforce by giving them practical experience, awareness of current developments in the sector and opportunities to cultivate new skills such as adaptability, creativity and innovative thinking which translate into practice and back to improving services and care for patients.

Productivity and impact

Following the end of the 2013/14 cohort pilot, the programme has been formally evaluated by the University of Leicester. Recommendations for developing a wider infrastructure in the future have been provided, which will ultimately provide stronger benefits and development opportunities for future graduate roles and our partner organisations. Furthermore, the programme aims to maintain and build relations with local and regional service partners to widen the scope of internships across the East Midlands in 2014/15.

We are currently advertising places for 13 interns to start in October 2014, for placements within HEEM, University Hospitals of Leicester, Leicester Partnership NHS Trust and the HEEM Local Workforce team in Lincolnshire. There are also plans to make the internships accredited, so that 15 to 20 credits can go towards a Master’s degree when completed.

Project Leads

This programme is led by Dr Chetna Modi and project managed by Reena Valand.

For further information about this pilot please contact Reena Valand at

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