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User centred design graduate scheme

Our user centred design 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 user centred design

User centred design is part of digital services delivery (DSD) at NHS Digital. DSD people work in multidisciplinary teams to create, maintain and continuously improve digital services and information.

User centred design is made up of 3 specialist practices. These are user research, design and content.

User research

User research helps NHS Digital learn about the people that use and work in the NHS and create services that meet their needs. User researchers plan, design and carry out research activities with users.


Designers design the end-to-end journey of a service to help users complete their goal. Designers work out the best way to let users interact with services, in terms of both overall flow and at the level of individual design elements.

Content design

Content designers make sure appropriate content is shown to a user in the right place and in the best format. They research the audience so that they can design effective content for them. They usually work with text, images, or video.

Who we are looking for

We are looking for people who:

  • are passionate about putting people at the centre of how we design and develop services
  • want to make a difference to health and care services and the people that use them
  • enjoy collaborating with others in a multidisciplinary team to work to deliver shared goals

Skills and experience

Besides being passionate about new technologies with a willingness to learn and grow, we would also particularly like to hear from you if you have a degree that developed your skills and experience in these areas:

  • any design discipline - especially user-centred design, user experience design, product design, creative media, digital design, interaction design, service design, graphic design
  • Psychology, human computer interaction, social sciences, anthropology, applied research, or other degree with a practical research element
  • Linguistics, English language, journalism, communications, public relations

We also look for these skills and qualities, which can come from any degree:

  • curiosity
  • creativity
  • qualitative and quantitative research skills
  • observation and analysis skills
  • written and verbal communication skills

What you'll do

Graduates will be involved in the development of services and products for both the public and health professionals. 

You’ll have opportunities to try placements in user research, design and content. You’ll get to move around teams and get involved in different projects across the development lifecycle.

As a junior user researcher I talk to NHS staff and patients to understand what they need technology to do, what problems they may encounter and what they find works for them. User research like this feeds into product and service design, which in turn can have massive benefits for the frontline.

Find out more about our previous trainees

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

What we offer

You’ll join the Academy on a 2-year fixed-term contract earning circa. £24,214, over the 2 years you will work towards one of these user-centred design professions:

  • Associate Designer
  • Associate Content Designer/ Manager
  • Associate User Researcher

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.

Professional qualifications and training

Graduates develop knowledge and get training in agile and iterative methods, and user centred design. Previous graduates have completed training and qualifications in:

  • Certified user experience (UX) professional
  • Content design
  • Information architecture
  • Visual web and interface design
  • Service design
  • User research
  • Leadership (including the Mary Seacole award)
  • Digital and agile foundation 

Who you'll work with

Graduates will work in multidisciplinary teams. Depending on the service your team is working on, you’ll work with internal staff and external users. External users include members of the public or health professionals.

There’s a supportive community of user researchers, designers and content designers at NHS Digital that meet up regularly. You’ll have the opportunity to attend these meet ups and events where you’ll share knowledge and learnings across teams.

You’ll also have the opportunity to attend public sector meet ups and events with other external digital organisations like the Government Digital Service (GDS). 

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 user centred design 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 shcme
  • contributory NHS Pension (with a 20% contribution from us towards 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 the user centred design graduate scheme you will:

Submit an online written application

Apply via Job Train using your CV.

Complete online tests

The tests you'll complete will be relevant to the scheme you have applied 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 more about the other graduate opportunities we offer please visit our graduate scheme page.

Further information

  1. 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.

  2. internal

    Product and delivery management graduate scheme

    Our product and delivery management graduate scheme offers the opportunity to work at the forefront of digital health. Developing your skills and knowledge while supporting NHS Digital to transform health and care.

  3. 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.

  4. internal

    Trainee stories

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

Last edited: 7 January 2020 10:13 am