Becca Barnes and Ben Clarke on their Consultancy Graduate Programme training

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Oct 21, 2022

Becca Barnes, a History graduate, has recently joined the NECS Yorkshire and Humber Consultancy Team as a Graduate Consultant. Ben Clarke meanwhile, a Junior Consultant in the team, has just completed the NECS Consultancy Graduate Programme. Together they reflect on their experiences of joining the programme and working within a consultancy environment.

What attracted you to apply to the NECS Consultancy Graduate Programme?


It is very unnerving handing in your university dissertation and submitting your final assignments – suddenly you have finished and are faced with the question ‘what’s next?’. During my placement year I worked at Leeds Cancer Centre and a primary care software provider, SystmOne. This gave me insight into the healthcare system and captured my interest in the NHS.

When I was researching potential graduate schemes after finishing university, NECS Consultancy ticked lots of boxes: the opportunity to further develop my NHS experience, a varied work programme, the chance to learn and develop new skills, and also the opportunity to gain further qualifications through the graduate programme. With all this in mind, I decided to apply.

What really attracted me to NECS, and what stood out against other graduate schemes, were the values at its core. Both the assessment centre and the final interview demonstrated just how significant these are to NECS’ culture. In particular, the importance NECS placed on creating a happy and supportive work environment – something that as a recent graduate, at the beginning of my career, felt very important to have in place. During the application process I got an increasing sense that NECS Consultancy was the right choice for me, and when I was offered the position, I was so excited to get started.

What is the NECS Consultancy Graduate Programme like?

I think the graduate scheme the consultancy team has cultivated in NECS is absolutely brilliant. It’s structured efficiently with a combination of project work, internal NECS initiatives, and accredited training, all of which provide excellent opportunities to develop your skillset across a range of different disciplines. After a welcoming induction, I sat down with my line manager to discuss my development, ambitions and objectives and quickly realised there were opportunities to play a key role across many elements of the business. The graduate programme is structured around the NECS Consultancy competency framework, ensuring you target all essential skills required to begin your career.

Having no previous NHS experience, I had a really broad development goal of wanting to work on as many projects in different healthcare settings as possible. My project allocation reflected this, providing me with the opportunity to work on some amazing projects which aided not only my professional, but personal development.

To me, what made the scheme really great was the Consultancy team itself. They’ve created a working culture where you feel like you can reach out to anyone in the team if you have a question or just want to chat about something. This was not only promoted during the recruitment process, but continued to be demonstrated whilst on client projects with NECS consultants. In my very first call, on my very first project, I was asked to present on some initial findings to the client. This was such a huge opportunity! It empowered me from the get-go, helped build my confidence and made me feel a valued member of the team.

I’m really glad I decided to choose NECS Consultancy’s graduate scheme; it provided a really solid platform in helping me decide on my future career path, enhancing my sector knowledge and developing the core skills being a consultant requires.

So what’s next for Becca and Ben at NECS Consultancy?

Becca is really excited to learn new skills and challenge herself in different directions to see how far she can go, particularly in applying for a Leadership and Management Postgraduate Diploma as part of the scheme. Ben was successful in gaining a promotion to Junior Consultant at NECS following the completion of his graduate scheme and is keen to continue his development by working on a range of new and ambitious projects.

If the last few years have taught us all anything, then you never really do know what’s next. However, Becca and Ben are so excited for their ‘what’s next?’ at NECS Consultancy.

If you would like to know more about the NECS Consultancy Graduate Scheme and the work we deliver at NECS Consultancy or within the Yorkshire and Humber team, please get in touch at: