Accelerate scheme

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Develop your talents, strengths and experience with our emerging talent scheme, Accelerate. Gain valuable cross-organisational insight as you rotate through placements across the charity, while earning a competitive salary in a supportive environment.

Applications for our 2025 intake will open in the autumn.

Accelerate: what you can expect

We are offering a unique opportunity to join our emerging talent scheme, Accelerate. With Cancer Research UK currently ranked fourth on TARGETjobs top 300 graduate employers, you will be joining one of the best schemes of its kind in the UK.

The two-year rotational programme is made up of a variety of short placements within your chosen business area which will provide you with invaluable cross-organisational insight and the opportunity to develop your skills within a supportive environment.

Who are we looking for?

We’re looking for high-potential individuals who want to develop a career in the charity sector and who have the maturity, intelligence and interpersonal skills to adapt to our fast-moving environment. We are seeking candidates from a wide range of backgrounds, who can bring different perspectives which will help us achieve our goal. For this reason, you don’t need to have a degree qualification or any previous charity experience to apply.

How much can I earn?

Accelerate members earn a competitive salary of £26,000 in your first year with an increase to £27,750 in your second year.

What happens after the scheme?

At the end of the two years, you will be invited to apply for a number of roles specifically ring-fenced for you, with the aim of continuing your career with the charity. Over 90 trainees have completed the scheme over recent years and many remain with the charity, having progressed to senior roles across the organisation.

Hear from our Accelerate members

Find the area that most interests you

The rotational element of the scheme means you will be provided with the opportunity to work in a variety of roles across a chosen business area. When applying, you can choose the business area that appeals to you:

Chief Operating Office

The Chief Operating Office directorate brings together four exceptional departments under one function – HR, Finance, General Counsel and Technology. The Chief Operating Office collaborates across Cancer Research UK to ensure we maximise the value of all our resources. The directorate leads on engaging and inspiring our people, by delivering operational transformation and an employee experience that enables us to be an inclusive and agile organisation. It aims to become the hub for operational management ensuring we govern, prioritise and are effective and efficient in all we do to help people live longer, better lives free from the fear of cancer. The Chief Operating Office Accelerate stream will give you an insight into exciting teams such as Learning and Development, Environment, Social and Governance (ESG), Technology and Finance, and will leave you with a broad understanding of our vital core purpose activity.


The Technology directorate’s ambition is to drive change across the organisation and deliver better outcomes more quickly while leaving stakeholders, partners and colleagues more fulfilled and more deeply engaged. The Technology Accelerate stream will give you exposure to key areas of technology. You will be a part of a Product Portfolio team, which is a multi-disciplinary product-centric team responsible for the end-to-end delivery of tasks. Roles within these teams work in collaboration to deliver a variety of products, projects and initiatives. You will have the chance to work in a range of areas including Agile Delivery, Business Analysis, Project Management, Production, UX, Data and Engineering.

Marketing, Fundraising and Engagement

The Marketing, Fundraising and Engagement directorate drives brand awareness, generates income and engages our audiences. The directorate inspires people to support our cause to ensure we can raise funds for our life-saving research. We do this in a number of ways, by encouraging our supporters to:

  • Give – helping us beat cancer through donations
  • Do – getting  involved in events or committing to doing something for us to collect sponsorship money and raise awareness, such as taking part in a Race For Life, hosting a quiz night or shaving their head.
  • Buy – donating and shopping in our stores help us find lifesaving research.
  • Pledge – our Legacies team has conversations with supporters about leaving gifts in wills and supporting them throughout this process.

The Marketing, Fundraising and Engagement Accelerate stream will give you exposure to key areas across Marketing, Trading, Partnerships, Product Teams, Insight and Communities.

Policy, Information and Communications

The Policy, Information and Communications directorate works on a range of vital core purpose activities. It is responsible for national and local level influencing by developing evidence-based policy to inform government decisions relating to cancer and research. It uses a range of communication channels such as press and social media to support all aspects of Cancer Research UK’s work. It also supports and empowers patients and the public through our cancer and health information products such as our Cancer Chat forum and our Cancer Awareness Roadshow. The Policy, information and Communications Accelerate stream will give you the chance to work in a variety of roles within these areas and add value to the directorate for years to come.