Adam Kamruddin shares how a blended talent strategy will benefit NHS change programmes

Following the recent announcement from Health Secretary, Matt Hancock in his speech at the Policy Exchange renewing his pledge to invest in technology, I’m reflecting on the ever-widening skills gap that continues to threaten the delivery of digital programmes. Digital innovation projects have already saved the NHS millions by automating processes, so the importance of finding the right talent to deliver projects in an increasingly digital world cannot be overstated.

Effectively resourcing digital projects is a nationwide difficulty, with the digital skills gap predicted to cost the UK economy £141bn in GDP growth by 2028. To counter this, the Ministry of Justice has spent £3,802,021 on digital skills training over the last three financial years, according to new research from a Parliament Street think tank.

To take a fresh approach to NHS change programmes requires talent with different skillsets, in particular those who are digitally literate with technical capability. However, for the public sector, this talent challenge has only been accentuated by limited access to flexible resource following 2017’s IR35 reform. A report by HMRC found that 32% of public sector central bodies have found it more difficult to fill contract vacancies following the reform, and one third reported that off-payroll contractors are now less willing to carry out work for them.

Despite IR35 reforms, the NHS is still reliant on flexible resource to deliver change. So, finding a compliant way to blend flexible resource with existing contractors is a high priority. Legislation reforms, such as IR35, offer a chance for the NHS to overhaul their talent strategy. To ensure long term success, it is imperative that organisations look ahead to determine what skills and experience level they require in the next five years. A key aspect of this is embracing the emerging workforce. This generation will both drive and deliver change across the public and private sector. Finding a compliant way to blend junior and senior Analysts will put the NHS on strong footing as we continue to move through the Big Data and technology evolution.

Today’s emerging workforce are well-equipped to support the NHS’s change programmes and offer a real solution to digital skills shortages. Having always lived in a digital and data-focused world, their inherent understanding of technology means they can provide a fresh perspective on challenges faced by the NHS. The combination of graduate Analysts’ innovative perspective and technical knowledge, with the guiding hand of Senior Analysts’ expertise will be a powerful tool for change.

At Grayce, we develop bright graduates into well-rounded change professionals. Our Development Programme bolsters graduates’ inherent technical knowledge. Over three years, Grayce Analysts gain the accredited qualifications, training and career-coaching to add value to NHS change programmes from day one. We often provide a valued extension to an existing graduate programme to accelerate graduate intake and co-develop the digital workforce.

Already, Grayce Analysts have demonstrated their strong academics, adaptability when helping NHS Digital deliver change. Working on NHS Digital’s Enterprise Architecture Model, our Analysts successfully developed a SharePoint site to centralise data and model the full scope of the organisation’s capabilities.

Grayce Analysts are recognised across client site for their excellent quality of work, capability and can-do attitude. Grayce Delivery Managers’ and Client Partners’ knowledge of NHS Digital has enabled the placement of high-quality Analysts who are well-suited to the organisation and have embedded themselves quickly into existing teams.

Using top graduate talent to support change programmes nationwide, Grayce provides a low cost, low-risk way to solve organisations’ resource challenges. Grayce Analysts’ are a strong complement to existing graduate schemes and, as an IR35 compliant solution, Grayce help organisations remain cost-competitive by tackling overreliance on contractors. We also offer the chance for our clients to transition Grayce Analysts into their permanent teams after a defined period. So, as well as addressing short term capacity challenges, Grayce helps to build organisations’ capability with clear talent pipelines.