Management trainee scheme
Our management trainee scheme provides ambitious and high calibre individuals with an entry point into a dynamic and stimulating career in university management and leadership.
The 18-month programme includes a rotation of placements across different areas of the School’s professional support services and academic faculties, complemented by a tailored training and development package and mentoring.
Meet our current trainees
Why I applied
I have always been interested in Higher Education since the completion of my BSc Geography degree and after graduating knew my motivations are aligned to the public sector and making a positive difference in whatever shape or form. I was particularly interested in this scheme because of its rotational nature, which would give me a broad experience of delivering projects within professional and academic services.
Since being at the School I have been placed with Finance and Human Resources (HR) departments which has given me the opportunity to be part of some really exciting projects. This has included:
- Supporting the School’s Research and Development Expenditure Credits tax claim by meeting with Principle Investigators to assess whether their grants (which total in excess of £42 million), meet HMRC requirements. This has given me a great insight into the School’s research portfolio, and experience of working with academics in a professional setting.
- Redeveloping HR pages for the staff intranet. This has involved working with our web team to design a site map, updating content in conjunction with HR colleagues, chairing the HR Intranet Working Group, and carrying out testing with users to gain feedback on the new pages.
- Evaluating the School’s in-house mentoring programme by developing and disseminating a School-wide questionnaire, researching best practice at other institutions and producing a subsequent action plan for the HR team to improve the programme.
- Preparing the School’s submission for HR Excellence in Research accreditation. On top of evidence gathering, this has required setting up focus groups with research staff to understand how the School’s policies and practices are actually put into place.
The highlight so far of the management trainee scheme has been its authenticity. We are entrusted with delivering high level projects, managing our own work load, recruiting new staff, managing small budgets and attending, chairing and presenting at meetings. I do not think any other management trainee scheme would be able to give such invaluable managerial insights.
Why I applied
I began working in Higher Education shortly after my graduation in 2013, and I felt the scheme would be a great opportunity to develop and formalise my experience. I had worked primarily in student advice, and I knew the role of management trainee would be a unique chance to gain varied experience from a managerial perspective. The prospect of working on a range of projects also appealed to me, as I felt I would be able to put my skills into practice and see tangible outcomes.
For my first placement I worked with the Communications & Engagement Team on a number of exciting projects:
- Supporting the development of resources for researchers for evaluation of public engagement activities. I engaged with academic colleagues across the School, as well as external stakeholders such as the Wellcome Trust and Research Councils UK.
- Refreshing the School’s merchandise range. I reviewed other institution practices and lead on focus groups to gain input from colleagues, whilst also liaising with suppliers.
- Designing the brochure and advertisement for the School's open day. I was able to learn about marketing within Higher Education, and how the School captures and retains interest from prospective students.
- Creating a report on the School’s current internal communications practices. This project allowed me to learn about the importance of robust internal communications, and how best practice can be adapted to fit the needs of an organisation.
In addition to my set projects, I was able to gain valuable exposure to the range of work that takes place within the team, including press office management and events organisation.
For my second placement at the School I’m based with IT Services where I’ve been asked to lead on a review of staff digital capabilities. This will be an opportunity to gain insight into how technology is embedded into teaching and research, and how institutions adapt to an increasingly digitalised world.
When I started the scheme, I was nervous about coming into established teams as an outsider and trying to achieve impact whilst also trying to learn. My experience has been incredibly positive, and I’ve been overwhelmed with the enthusiasm and supportive nature of the teams I’ve worked with. My colleagues have confidence in me to deliver the projects I’m assigned, whilst also giving me to support and advice I need to develop. Management trainees at the School are offered a level of autonomy and responsibility I feel is unique from other programmes. I’ve been able to present reports to senior committees, deliver training sessions and implement new processes all within my first six months.
Why I applied
I applied to the scheme due to the opportunities to develop personally and professionally in a wide variety of projects. I knew that the role would allow me to have the flexibility to engage in work happening across the School, which would give a greater insight into the range of roles available in the Higher Education sector. For me, this was more attractive than applying for a fixed role after graduating university, as I was able to test my skills and figure out where I saw myself working within the institution’s structure.
My main focus was a paper-light project in the Faculty of Public Health and Policy. This role involved coordinating with a range of stakeholders from within the School to deliver IT training, facilitate paper-based forms transition to online formats and pilot paper-free meetings, using various technologies.
Additionally, I was involved in the following projects/roles across the School:
- Providing secretarial support to Senior Leadership Team and Management Board meetings.
- Planning the Times Higher Education University of the Year 2016 celebration.
- Helping to develop the Major Incident Response plan for the School.
- Assisting with the administrative side of School strategy workshops.
- Conceptualising an institution-wide health and fitness scheme.
The highlight of the scheme for me has to be the University of the Year party. The management trainees were given almost total creative freedom to plan the party for staff and students. None of us had planned an event on that scale before but the party went off without a hitch and the turnout was fantastic. The atmosphere on the night was such a tangible product of our hard work and everyone really enjoyed themselves. The University of the Year party really exemplifies the degree to which this scheme gives you the opportunity to develop new skills and challenge yourself by managing big projects.