What is the purpose of a training plan?
The training plan is a way of helping the trainee to understand and what is to be achieved over the 3 years of the STP programme. When your trainee first arrives, it is the training officer that is responsible for their initial training plan. However, as time goes on, the trainee should take more ownership of the plan. For training planning to be successful, a collaborative approach is necessary where communication is key.
What makes a good training plan?
- The training plan should be realistic and achievable.
- It should plan for at least the full academic year so that the trainee knows where they are going, e.g. for rotations.
- The training plan should be FLEXIBLE with an awareness of deadlines. There should be some flexibility for the both the trainee and the department’s commitments.
- It will be helpful if your training planning can adapt to the trainee’s personal circumstances. Do they need a block of time to complete their dissertation at the end? Or do they need to do a little each week? Trainees approach deadlines and deal with pressure in different ways, so an adaptable approach is required. Be clear in advance of your expectations.
Here is a video from our Training Programme Director Jane Lynch and the Education Lead from l West Midlands, Oxford and Wessex Genomics Laboratory Hub sharing their views on training planning.
What are good training planning behaviours?
Training officers should use the Curriculum Library extensively in order to understand the competencies and workplace-based assessments that need to be achieved.
Map out when the workplace-based modules that will be undertaken over the 3 years.
Set up a learning agreement (although this is not mandatory) with clear expectations of the trainee and training officer obligations.
Ensure there is communication and collaboration between the you as the training officer, the trainee and all other departments involved with training.
Have regular review meetings with the trainee. In these, the trainee could take the minutes and define actions.
What should I include in the training plan?
Include a structured timetable of events especially details of what the trainee will be doing for the immediate period ahead. The first week could be used to complete any workplace mandatory training or workplace induction activity. Plan for key dates such as regular 1:2:1’s reviewing progress and anything else that is necessary, the mandatory STP induction event held by the National School, the trainee’s academic schedule and exam timetable, and a plan for when the rotations will take place would be a good start.
It would also be useful to know key assessment dates: e.g. mock OSFA, live OSFA and the Mid-term review of progression (MRP). Make sure you discuss diary availability including holiday commitments for you as the Training Officer and the trainee.
Allow for protected time for academic study, and for preparation for university exams and assessment and time for the trainee’s planned elective.
Top tips for training officers
- Get to know your trainee as an individual. What are their skills gaps? Consider what the trainee has done prior to the training programme, account for their strengths and weaknesses. Every trainee is different, with different personal circumstances, which need to be factored into planning.
- Make opportunities for the trainee to get involved with patients and the public in their training.
- Ensure that you know what is required from the trainees by their academic programme.
- Get the trainee to think about their research project in the first year.
- Communicate the training plan to the whole department and all departments involved with training, giving them as much information as possible.