Entry requirements, skills and interests (project management and procurement)
There are several entry points into project management and procurement
There are a variety of entry routes into a career in management. The following are general entry requirements. For specific entry requirements check the person specification for individual job vacancies.
- with moderate to high-grade GCSEs or work experience or both
- with A levels or equivalent
- as a graduate
- if you already have management experience
You can join the NHS administrative level and work your way up to management, supported by in-house and external training schemes. For most junior positions, you will need four or five GCSEs at grades A-C or equivalent. Employers may also consider applicants with fewer formal qualifications if they can demonstrate they have the right skills, for example, previous clerical experience. There are sometimes opportunities to enter through an apprenticeship in a relevant area of administration.
If you have two or three A levels or equivalent vocational qualifications you may be able to start at a higher administrative grade, leading to a supervisory role and then into management. Internal and external training schemes, for example in communications skills or budget management, will assist your progress and enable you to apply your academic skills to work situations. Previous work experience can be an advantage. There are sometimes higher apprenticeships available.
If you have a degree or equivalent vocational qualifications you can apply for junior management posts or apply for entry on the NHS Graduate Management Training Scheme in which you can specialise in general, human resource, informatics or finance management. As well as the fast-track graduate scheme, depending on your degree and your employment experience, you may be able to apply directly for junior management vacancies. Alternatively, you can join an NHS trust or other health-related organisation in an administrative role, gain experience of staff supervision and move on into management with appropriate training and support.
We welcome applications from people who have already built up management experience in the private sector or in other public or voluntary organisations. You can often join at a level corresponding to your skills and expertise. Some managers are recruited directly for specific positions.
Skills, qualities and interests needed
In addition to any qualifications and skills for specific posts in project management and procurements, you’ll need a variety of skills and qualities, typically including:
- effective business acumen
- the ability to get things done on time and to the required standard
- good communication skills
- budgeting and financial planning skills
- leadership skills
- organisational skills
- a willingness to work with others and respect their views
- confidence with numbers
- confidence with information technology
- negotiating skills
- the ability to challenge the way things are and find better alternatives
- honesty and fairness in dealing with other people
- a commitment to the ideals of quality and fairness in delivering healthcare.
If you're applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services you'll be asked to show how you think the NHS values apply in your everyday work. The same will be true if you're applying for a university course funded by the NHS.
The NHS values form a key part of the NHS Constitution.
Example requirements for specific roles
The skills and qualifications needed vary according to the type of post.
The following are examples of the sort of role you’ll find in project management and procurement. It is only a guide – you should check the precise requirements of the person specification for any post you’re applying for.
- Project manager – capital schemes
- Cardiac information project manager
- Project management and implementation - IT project/liaison manager
You’re likely to need a degree or equivalent level of qualification, with:
- strong negotiating skills and technical know-how
- experience as a senior NHS manager
- a track record in leading change management and innovation
- the ability to understand complex issues and develop service solutions from first principles.
For this type of post, you’d be expected to have:
- a degree level qualification
- significant experience in information systems implementation
- a good understanding of the NHS
- an ability to influence others to adopt proposals and implement solutions
- an ability to use your own initiative and work as part of a team, redesigning working practices to effect service improvements.
In this example, you’d need good project management and communication skills and a project management qualification.