Attention! Linking Armed Forces job seekers with the NHS

NHS Step Into Health

The Step into Health programme – supported by NHS Employers – facilitates and promotes career opportunities for the Armed Forces community within the NHS. Pledging to Step into Health allows NHS organisations to recruit Forces personnel, taking advantage of their skills and values which are shared with the NHS.

The problem to be solved was keeping track of Step Into Health candidates across a wide range of NHS organisations. There was no centralised system previously, which made it almost impossible to gauge where candidates were in their Step Into Health recruitment journey.

Creating the online system

Firstly we chaired a discovery session to scope the project and get an agreed consensus from key project stakeholders. A specification was produced, followed pretty rapidly by UX wireframes and an interactive prototype.

NHS Step Into Health wireframe

The client sourced people from the two target groups (servicemen and women and NHS Trust staff) allowing us to organise a round of user testing. This validated the design work done to date, providing a solid foundation on which to proceed. All UI components were created with brand guidelines applied.

The application was a bespoke build using the Laravel PHP framework. This allowed us to make a secure and scalable application that made use of the robust user authentication procedures offered by Laravel. The application front-end was designed to be accessible across various devices such as mobile, tablet and desktop.

Step Into Health Blog user testing

Three user groups – tons of features

There are three types of users, with each afforded a range of functionality:

Candidates: Can register interest, define their skills, work history and preferred geographical locations for employment.

NHS Trusts: Can log candidate activity such as attending open days, interviews, work placements and securing employment. Staff can view reporting specific to their Trust and transfer candidates to other organisations.

Admin staff: Can access a visual dashboard of reporting – jobs, work placements, registrations and candidate interactions. They can also view stats by region, band and job role and download data as required as well as search candidates nationally ­– by age, name, registration date and status.

Step into Health stakeholders had some concerns over the storage of individuals data privacy – we worked with the team at NHS Employers to overcome this, adapting the system to achieve strict compliance with their privacy requirements.

Results post launch – Job’s a good ‘un!

It’s been terrific since launch to see the system being used and Armed Forces personnel registering and starting new careers, bringing their experience and skills to benefit the NHS. In addition, the admin team is working far more efficiently, with all candidate data centralised, easily accessed and analysed.

NHS Step Into Health reporting


Gemma Wright is Step Into Health’s Programme Lead and said:

“Working with Cite to create the new system was a real leap forward for the way we engage with members of the Armed Forces community and gives us the ability to evidence the impact Step into Health has within the NHS.  Cite’s patience, creativity and vision were vital to us achieving such a great platform. Always willing to listen to user feedback and their responsive nature made the delivery of a complex project much smoother. We look forward to working with the team more in the future as the programme grows and transforms”.

– Gemma Wright, Programme Lead

Check out our other digital projects with the NHS