Karina Malhotra

Founder of Evolve e-Learning by Acumentice


Starting my career on the NHS graduate scheme offered a great strategic foundation to launching a career in the NHS but key functional skills were learnt on the job. As I joined the frontline of NHS organisations, however, I regularly experienced the challenges faced by early career NHS managers in accessing effective and engaging learning & development to excel in these roles. The majority of learning for this group continues to happen “on the job” and can often be slow, non standardized, non productive and create inefficiencies within the service. This is the problem our new edtech product, Evolve Learning aims to resolve and give back the NHS up to c£32m annually in savings via improved employee wellbeing, retention and increased productivity. This could pay for c900 additional nurses or c10,000 additional operations per year.

For the last decade I have been running a data/operational management consultancy supporting the NHS deliver improvement programmes. It has become evident through these engagements that the problems in accessing effective training early managers have only been exacerbated by the pressures the NHS has faced since covid. The NHS staff survey results recently further showed that 40-45% staff felt they did not have access to training and did not feel they had support to develop their career. This is a key contributor in rising staff turnover too – 9.6% to 12.5% in the last two years. In particular, in our market research, we also found that early managers specifically have been overlooked by the marketplace thus far.

Evolve aims to address this gap by offering high quality and targeted video based training and case studies on an intuitive online platform. Our courses will cover operational foundations including key digital skills, people-centred skills, leadership skills, and motivational courses – all cognizant of EDI principles at their core.

Evolve can bring substantial benefits to the NHS as it aligns well with key staff based priorities in both the Long term plan and the recent workforce plan i.e. staff get the backing and training they deserve, improve productivity by up to 2% and improve overall staff retention. The Gordon Messenger review also supports the development of a solution like Evolve. As a rule of thumb, research shows a 4x return on investment for organisations through such targeted learning.

As a diverse founder who has been running a business in the UK health sector since 2014, I have faced many challenges. In the main, these have been of representation and bias – there are not many Asian female founders in the UK NHS market and that sometimes leads to unconscious bias especially as I compete in digital and data related fields predominantly. Overcoming this has required resilience and going the extra mile for clients in proving credentials and knowledge base. I continue to persevere and overcome such challenges as my vision for improving the NHS remains a passion that drives me. Evolve learning is borne of this very passion with the ultimate goal of building a healthier NHS.