FAQs on management of trainees for STP trainers

Here you will find answers to issues ranging from study leave to funding.

A trainee is thinking of leaving the STP; who do they need to speak to?

We understand that circumstances change and a trainee may feel that they do not wish to continue on the programme. We advise that they trainee talks to their training officer or other colleagues at work to find out what support is available as soon as possible. If they feel they are not receiving the support they need, they can contact the School for further advice.

Who do trainees speak to when they are having problems with training?

The trainee must always speak first to their training officer about any problems with training. The School’s Training Programme Directors will support training officers if they need further advice.

Can a trainee change specialties after they have started the STP?

No, a trainee must stay with the specialty they applied for. When they accept their post they agree to undertake that training in a particular specialty for the duration of the programme. The only exceptions are for any trainees recruited to undefined medical physics as the employer does not require the specialty to be defined until the end of the rotational phase.

Can a trainee transfer to a new location within the same specialty?

The regional education and training offices fund each training post within their area. If a trainee needs to move within the region covered and the Trust is able to accommodate them, the funding would have to be transferred by the regional office to the new post. However a transfer outside of the regional education and training office area is more difficult.

Who do trainees inform of a change of personal details?

Personal records must be kept up-to-date with the employing Trust, on the e-portfolio and with the School.

Who should a trainee notify about a sickness absence?

A trainee must notify their employer if they are off sick. Training departments should inform the School of any prolonged sickness absence, for the purposes of monitoring trainee progress.

Are training departments expected to give study leave to trainees on the STP?

As employees you are entitled to request and take study leave in accordance with local employment policies, however this should only be applicable to study that is not directly attributable to the training programme.

We advise that employers facilitate a 80:20 split (or 1 day per week if full time) between routine workplace commitments and academic studies. 20% of the trainee’s time must be protected for private study, including university work, reflective writing, reading and portfolio completion. This applies throughout the programme, regardless of whether the trainee is in university term time.

You are advised to contact us to discuss difficulties in securing protected time for training as employers not facilitating this risk losing their accredited status as a training centre.

Funding for any activities that are not directly related to the training programme should be sought from local training budgets.

My trainee has 1 day per week allocated to study time, should this be increased when exams or assignments are due?

The School recommends a flexible approach to study time, with 20% overall as the recommended minimum level. There is a benefit from more study time at pressured academic periods eg before an exam, but when the academic workload is less study days may be reduced to prioritise work based training (equally important!). This is best agreed between trainee and training officer, and we encourage a collaborative approach to building a training plan that reflects this, with academic assignment dates and exams noted, and the dates for the final exit assessment, maintaining some flexibility to allow for unexpected challenges or opportunities.

What is the School’s policy on parental leave?

It is usually down to local negotiation between the employer, commissioner and University in terms of agreeing a management plan and should be managed in accordance with local terms and conditions of employment. The School does ask to be kept informed so we know when the trainee is due to complete/rotate and the approach will vary depending on the individual circumstances and timing it occurs during their training. We would be happy to advise on a plan once drafted in terms of how that might impact on training etc and based on our wider knowledge of other experiences make recommendations on how you might manage.

Do we need to inform the School about what we spend the training budget on?

No, the allocation of funds for the STP is the responsibility of the local commissioner and the employing Trust. The use of the training budget is down to agreement within the department.

How can training departments obtain funding to support in service trainees?

Funding is provided through regional education offices. Posts have to be supported by workforce need and commissions submitted through the local healthcare science commissioner.

Is it acceptable to the School for a department to appoint (to a permanent post) a trainee who has not yet completed their training?

Yes if departments are able to support the completion of training there should be no problem. It is worth speaking to the local education office about the possibility of protecting the trainee’s training budget for the last few months to ensure that they are employed by you at the end of the training period. This may not always be possible but certainly worth exploring with your local commissioner. The School would suggest caution for the trainee as it is quite challenging to swap from a pure training role to one that may have different competing demands. However, other departments in this position have been able to strike a sensible workable balance where necessary. The trainee would need to submit a transfer of training request form and relevant evidence detailed in the transfer of training policy. These can be found in the publications section of the website.

Can a trainee cover weekends and out of hours shifts even though their contract states they are a supernumerary trainee?

We would not actively encourage trainees to participate continuously in weekend/out of hours working, however good experience may be gained from out of hours work. If they did it would be expected that they are undertaking appropriate work that would not require close supervision. Our concern would be the potential impact this might have on their training during the remainder of the working week.

Last updated on 3rd April 2024