Should I apply?

What will I do differently?

Participants are expected to apply the skills and knowledge they acquire during the programme to their practice in the workplace. To chronicle this journey, NHS Digital Academy participants will use journals to draw together the learning from each element of the programme and to capture how they translate this learning into practice to achieve real-world impact and change.

At the start of the programme, participants are expected to set out their goals for the year ahead in a Personal Development Plan (PDP), which is agreed with their executive sponsor.

Participants are expected to identify a theme or programme of work in which they are involved that is of strategic benefit to their organisation. During the programme, they will demonstrate their emerging knowledge by applying best-practice models, frameworks and approaches to improve outcomes and add further value to NHS initiatives.

Participants are encouraged to reflect through personal journals – during each module and after each residential – about how they are meeting their development goals and achieving impact in practice. Participants celebrate the completion of their digital health leadership journey during the final residential with a conference-format seminar, presenting the highlights of their personal growth and demonstrating their impact in the workplace.

Should I apply?

Applicants need to be employed by an organisation/body that forms part of the NHS, public health or social care family (i.e. directly employed member of the workforce) in England.  This programme is aimed at Chief Information Officers (CIOs), Chief Clinical Information Officers (CCIOs), Chief Nursing Information Officers (CNIOs), Chief Digital Information Officers (CDIOs), their deputies and other senior digital change leaders in the NHS in England. We know that job titles and responsibilities are incredibly varied in this space and we would not exclude individuals based on this. However, the programme is targeted at individuals who are operating within a context and are in a role where they are required to drive and implement practical digital transformational change within their organisation or system. Applicants will need to evidence this in their application.

We are currently exploring opportunities to support those in different stages of their career and alternative programmes may be more appropriate.  In addition, through working with partners such as the Leadership Academy, Informatics Skills Development Networks and the Federation for Informatics Professionals (FEDIP), we can signpost to more practical training and skill development which may be required.

We are currently exploring provision for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and will update our website as further information is available. In addition there is separate work underway with NHSx to understand how this can best support those working in social care. It currently remains focused to those working in the NHS in England so for this reason we have not actively promoted to social care this year, however applicants from social care are welcome to apply.

Other Entry Criteria

  • You will have 3 to 5 years of relevant experience in informatics or digital health
  • You will have executive level support from your organisation (more on this below)
  • You will be able to attend all experiential learning and live teaching – which may be in-person or virtual. If you would like to discuss any special requirements please contact us in confidence. This will not affect your application score.
  • You are empowered and supported to apply new skills, learning, and behaviours to projects within your organisation or system.
  • We want individuals to demonstrate commitment to the professionalism of our workforce and to embed learning within their organisations and systems
  • We want you to have fun!

Executive Level Commitment

Board-level support from your organisation is a requirement for your acceptance onto the NHS Digital Academy.

A suitable Executive Sponsor is the Chief Executive Officer or a member of the Executive Board at your organisation. Executive Sponsors commit to providing the following support to you throughout the programme:

  • Ensure you are given adequate time to focus on your studies and protected learning time
  • Ensure you are released from your organisation in order to attend experiential and live learning sessions  sessions
  • Act as a mentor to you over the duration of undertaking the programme and support you when needed
  • Help you to progress  workplace projects successfully and unlock doors internally if required
  • Hold you to account for demonstrating translation of your learning into practice for the benefit of your organisation.
  • Executive Sponsors will be required to attend a mandatory induction session. This will be one hour maximum and recorded so can be watched at a convenient time.

We ask that all applicants seek out a suitable Executive Sponsor in advance of submitting an application. It will be your responsibility to not only source a sponsor, but also maintain a successful relationship with your sponsor for the duration of the programme. Executive sponsors will be asked during the longlisting period to confirm their commitment via email. Executive sponsors are welcome and encouraged to join our webinars throughout the application process if they would like to ask questions during this period.

In this video Rachel Dunscombe talks about the role of Executive Sponsors in the NHS Digital Academy’s Digital Health Leadership Programme.

What are the time commitments?

The recommended study time is 5-8 hours per week on average (up to 10-15 hours), including approximately 3 hours of engagement with online content, 2 hours of core reading and additional time to engage with your peers. During assessment weeks, these hours will be put towards completing specified assessments.  For Cohort 4, as we do not yet know when it will be safe to deliver face to face events and on what scale, we need to take a risk averse approach to the schedule and delivery method.

We have been able to evaluate the learning delivery from both before and during the pandemic to help us understand what the optimum method is going forwards. Our preference for Cohort 4 is, as long as it is safe to do so, to include a minimum three days in-person learning in a two-day and one-day block. In addition, there will also be an in-person graduation ceremony.  Residential 1 will be taking place 21 – 22 September 2021. Residential 2 will be taking place 7 – 9 December 2021. These will both be virtual. Residential 3 will be taking place 26 – 27 April 2022 at Radisson Manchester Airport, and Residential 4 will be taking place 12 July 2022 at Radisson Durham. Residentials 3 and 4 will be in-person.

Please note that whilst participants will be supported by faculty members throughout the programme, individual needs will differ depending on your previous exposure to academic programmes. As a result, some participants will need to commit more time to the programme and undertake additional self-directed study in order to successfully complete the core learning and assessments within the programme.

How much will it cost?

The NHS Digital Academy Digital Health Leadership Programme is fully funded by HEE for those who are eligible to apply for the 100 places. This also includes overnight stays for multi-day residentials. Individuals (their organisations) will however need to pay for their travel costs and other expenses (e.g. meals while travelling), alongside additional accommodation if needed either side of a residential.

What if I don’t have a degree?

We do not want degrees to be a barrier to applying for this programme, therefore having a previous degree is not a pre-requisite. Once successful, our academic provider will guide you through the academic admission process and as part of this you will be asked to provide previous academic records or evidence equivalent professional experience. This will be a well supported process and also gives you the opportunity to confirm you are comfortable with the academic requirements of the programme. Should you be at all concerned about this step, please get in touch with us. Following this stage, you will be able to accept your offer of study.