Oct 20

Graduate Management learners putting learning into practice during the pandemic

Posted on Friday 2nd October 2020

The ninth cohort of health and social care Graduate Management learners have now completed their demanding one-year programme and have been putting their learning into practice during the pandemic.

The Graduate Management programme was developed in partnership between Skills for Care, the NHS Leadership Academy and supported by the Department of Health and Social Care. 

The programme is designed to fast-track graduates towards leadership roles in a wide range of settings, and this year the graduates were tested to their limits as they all played their part in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

All the graduates completed a rigorous values-based selection process to make sure they had the right core values and motivations needed to work in social care and health. They were then matched with host organisations across England who mentored the graduates through a tough programme where they gained industry standard qualifications in leadership and management.

Since its launch in 2009, over 140 graduates have completed the programme with many already working in senior leadership roles. Usually the19 graduates would celebrate at a graduation ceremony in London, but pandemic restrictions meant they had to share the experiences and knowledge they’ve gained virtually.

Oonagh Smyth, Skills for Care CEO said,

Our graduate programme is demanding enough at the best of times but the unique challenges of the pandemic have tested every one of them in different ways which makes their achievements doubly impressive.

I was able to join their virtual graduation and told them despite all the challenges they’ve faced they will have learned a lot about themselves and their leadership style especially in the unique circumstances of the last few months. I am deeply grateful to all our host organisations who despite all the pressures presented by COVID-19 continued support the graduates through every stage of the programme.

 The 19 graduates who completed the programme and their host organisations were:


Host Organisation

Aarushi Vaidya


Alexa Kerr-Dineen

Care City

Anna O'Gara

Home from Home

Caroline Jones

London Borough of Newham

Charlotte Shacklady

Cheshire East

Emily Bowering

Middleton Hall

Fiona Cook

The Grange Centre

Harjeevan Dhaliwal

Gloucestershire County Council

Jemima Churchhouse

Cheshire East

Kate Sanders


Kesha Dhananjee Wijetunge


Lucy Appleby

Coventry City Council

Luke Parry

CIC – Community Integrated Care

Madalina Pop

London Borough of Newham

Poppy Pike

Cheshire East

Portia Carney-Stott


Shauna Winfield

Home from Home

Temilolu Ogunjimi

Essex County Council

Victoria Church

Milton Keynes City Council