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Data science trainee schemes

Our data science trainee schemes offer the opportunity to work at the forefront of digital health. Developing your skills and knowledge while supporting NHS Digital to transform health and care.

Sign-up for notifications for September 2020 placements. These are advertised between October and November 2019.

All currently available NHS Digital roles are advertised on our careers pages.

About Data Science

We use data to drive the decisions that can lead to improvement and positive change across NHS health and social care. Being able to push forward this change means developing high quality analytics and data science skills with the rich datasets available to the NHS.

The Data Insights and Statistics directorate (DIS) is a centre of expertise for the data sciences in NHS Digital. We already have trainees working with us on the graduate scheme, apprenticeships, PHD research placements and year-in-industry placements.

Data science is made up of 2 specialist practices. These are Information, Analysis and Statistics, and Data management.


Information, Analysis and Statistics

Information analysts assist in the provision of information and data for commissioners, analysts and clinicians in health and social care. They analyse and collect data and produce specific information that assists the Government, the public sector and other care providers in delivering and improving health and social care services.

Data management

Data management officers support the management of data across its full lifecycle, from the collection of data through to the production of management information to senior colleagues. Data management officers help ensure that data is handled in an efficient and secure way by adhering to regulatory requirements and information governance.

Who we are looking for

We are looking for people with an interest in using data to improve health outcomes. You will be passionate about data and new technologies, be full of initiative and above all have a willingness to learn and develop. It would be great if you could also demonstrate:

  • passion, drive and high levels of enthusiasm for new challenges
  • self-motivation and a desire to succeed as part of a team
  • a commitment to excel in a demanding and highly rewarding role

Types of trainee schemes

The academy at NHS Digital offers 3 types of data science trainee schemes:

1. Graduate scheme

On the graduate scheme you'll learn how to use data to improve services for patients. The work-based scheme is designed to increase your on the job experience of analysis, statistics, data management and data science.

What we offer on the graduate scheme

You’ll join the Academy on a 2-year fixed-term contract earning circa. £24,214, over the 2 years you will work towards either an Information, Analysis and Statistics or Data Management role. Providing that you successfully complete the programme, you will be invited for an end of scheme assessment, which may lead to a permanent role at circa. £37,570. 

Skills and qualifications you'll need to get on the graduate scheme

To get on the graduate scheme you should:

Be expecting or already have a minimum 2:1 Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent qualification) in a STEM or data related degree.

We would also like you to have:

  • demonstrable experience of data science, analytics or data management (for example, course work, personal projects, or dissertation)
  • proven ability to communicate complex information in a variety of different formats
  • proven ability to make informed, timely and effective decisions with minimal guidance

2. Apprenticeship scheme

The apprenticeship is an opportunity to gain real world experience at in Data, Insights and Statistics at NHS Digital while studying towards a Level 4 Data Analyst Apprenticeship provided by QA

Find out more about the Data Analyst Apprenticeship standard:

Data analyst apprenticeship standards

What we offer on the apprenticeship scheme

You’ll join the Academy on a 2-year fixed-term contract.  over the 2 years you will work towards either an Information, Analysis and Statistics or Data Management role. Providing that you successfully complete the programme, you will be invited for an end of scheme assessment, which may lead to a permanent role at circa. £30,401.

Skills and qualifications you'll need to get on the apprenticeship scheme

We are looking for people who are interested in data, insights and statistics, are dedicated to professional development and have a passion for making a difference on a national scale.

You will also need:

  • 5 GCSE's 9-4 (A-C) including Maths and English or Level 2 equivalent
  • 3 A-levels A-C including STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects or equivalent (NVQ/ SVQ Level 3, or a BTEC National)
  • portfolio to demonstrate experience of data science, analytics or statistics - for example, course work, personal projects
  • proven interest in data, including an awareness. and basic understanding of data analysis tools and techniques

If you have studied in a similar field at level 4 or higher you are not eligible to apply for this opportunity, however you might still be elligible for one of our other apprenticeship or graduate schemes.

3. Industry Placement

Use your skills and apply academic learning while gaining professional on the job experience in our analysis, statistics, data management or data science teams.

During your year with us, you will be working in one of our data science teams, contributing to the work we undertake within NHS Digital to improve health and social care outcomes. You'll also be supported to deliver a project for our innovative uses of data team. This unique experience will enrich your studies and prepare you for a future career in data science.

What we offer on the industry placement scheme

You'll join us on a 1-year fixed-term contract in the Academy earning circa. £21,089. During your time with us you'll gain 1-year of data science industry experience working in a multi-disciplinary team on some of the richest health and care datasets in the world.


Skills and qualifications you'll need to join our industry placement scheme


You should be currently studying for a STEM or data-related degree.

You should have a portfolio of work to demonstrate experience of data science to date – for example, course work, personal projects.

What you'll do

As a data science trainee, you’ll be trained to analyse complex datasets, apply statistical curiosity and draw evidence-based conclusions.

You'll have opportunities to rotate through different assignments depending on the scheme and length of projects available.

For example, previous trainees have worked on a Natural Language Query (NLQ) project for the data innovation lab.

Find out more about how NLQ is being used by NHS Digital to improve public access to data

To help break down barriers to the public data held by NHS Digital, the Innovative Uses of Data team are improving access to data by building an NLQ tool. This will sit on our website for anyone to use. So far we have developed a working natural language query engine that can demonstrate a capability for taking often quite complex plain English questions and correctly returning data that answers those questions whilst preserving anonymisation principles.

You can read more about our work with NLQ on this data innovation lab page.

Who you'll work with

On each of our schemes you’ll have the opportunity to work with multiple teams and services, giving you a unique understanding of the kinds of roles we have within the DIS directorate at NHS Digital.

You can find more information about the different things we do in Data, Insights and Statistics on our website:

Statistics are essential in helping people make decisions in the healthcare system. I’ve learned how to use analysis tools and I have been supported and challenged in equal measure. As soon as I have mastered something, I get pushed immediately on to the next level. I can’t believe how lucky I’ve been.

Find out more about our previous trainees

Trainees from across our apprenticeship, graduate and industry placement schemes share their experiences of working for NHS Digital in their trainee stories.

How we'll support you

At NHS Digital we see our trainees as future leaders and influential specialists. You will be mentored by members of our leadership programme to ensure that you develop expertise in your subject area while gaining an understanding of business and strategy.

You’ll get a blend of specialist learning and development activities covering technical, leadership and soft skills training:

  • presentation skills
  • communication and negotiation
  • working collaboratively
  • facilitating workshops
  • problem solving
  • assertiveness

Mentors and buddies

You'll also be assigned a mentor and a buddy to offer you 1-2-1 support through the scheme.



Your mentor will be a more experienced member of staff from within the NHS Digital data science community and will provide wider professional experience and guidance to further enhance your development and pass on their skills and knowledge of the organisation.


Your buddy will be a previous or existing trainee who will be able to give peer to peer support and further induction and socialisation to the organisation. Previous cohorts of trainees (whether or not they are still undergoing training) can also be expected to perform mentor or buddy roles, which may in turn form part of your development through the reinforcement of existing learning.

Scheme benefits

In addition to a competitive salary with planned, transparent progression you can look forward to the following benefits:

  • 27 days annual leave entitlement increasing with service
  • buy and sell annual leave scheme
  • contributory NHS Pension (with a 20% contribution from us toward the cost of your pension)
  • flexible working opportunities
  • a range of NHS discounts covering, for example, shops, restaurants, gym, mobile phones and insurance - including 20% off Nandos
  • season ticket travel loan
  • car lease scheme


For more information visit our Working at NHS Digital page.

Application process

To secure a job on one of our data science trainee schemes you will:

Submit an online written application

Apply via Job Train using your CV.

Complete online tests

The tests you'll complete will vary depending on the scheme you are applying for.

Complete a video interview

If you pass the online tests you'll be asked to complete a short video interview telling us what skills you will bring to NHS Digital and why you want to work with us.

Attend an assessment centre

You'll then attend an assessment centre in either Leeds, London or Exeter where you will:

  • get to meet some of our current NHS Digital trainees, who will tell you more about the scheme.
  • have the opportunity to show us how well you work collaboratively and can prioritise tasks.
  • undertake a formal face-to-face interview with existing staff and graduates from previous years schemes.
Receive a job offer

If you are successful at the assessment centre we will then offer you a job and start pre-employment checks.

If you would like to know about the other trainee schemes we offer please visit our graduate and apprenticeship scheme pages.

Further information

  1. internal

    The Academy at NHS Digital

    The Academy at NHS Digital gives exciting ways to join the forefront of digital health, whilst learning new skills as part of one of our structured schemes.

  2. internal

    Trainee stories

    Trainees from across our apprenticeship, graduate and placement schemes share their experiences of working for NHS Digital.

  3. internal

    Graduate scheme

    The graduate scheme is a two year training programme, run by NHS Digital, to develop our workforce to meet the future needs of our business.

  4. internal

    Apprenticeship scheme

    An apprenticeship combines a practical job with study. The standards are designed by industry organisations and end with a qualification, ranging from GSCE to degree level.

Last edited: 30 April 2020 1:05 pm