Message from your STP Training Programme Directors
Namir Al Hasso, Dr EMma Bowers, Dr Jo Horne, Jane Lynch and Aarti Makan
This month’s message is from Jane Lynch.
Welcome to this month’s STP memo. We hope you are all healthy in both mind and body, and that training is progressing well despite the continuing challenges as COVID-19 cases rise again. Please visit our website where you can find advice and links, and contact us if you need our support.
Within this memo there is information for trainees about completion pathways for 2022 and 2023 and drop-in sessions to ask any questions you may have. We are also planning our induction for the 2022 cohort of trainees and are seeking current trainees to attend. There will be opportunities for trainees to enhance their public speaking skills and to provide some support and advice to new trainees.
The new cohort this year will follow our new STP curriculum. This has been developed in partnership with a broad range of people including training officers, employers, HEI representatives and service user groups. The new curriculum has been designed to future proof training and to be more flexible, with learning outcomes that are less linked to specific diagnostics than previously while ensuring the programme is fit for purpose in training clinical scientists ready for day one ‘on the job’. It should also substantially reduce the impact on training of challenges such as the pandemic, reducing the need for alternative pathways to completion and the restrictions on the final exit assessment due to the training disruption. This is therefore an ideal opportunity to review our progression and assessment processes to ensure these are streamlined, achievable and effective. We are currently in the early stages of a consultation with our colleagues, beginning with the lead station writers who have been crucial in assessing at our final exit assessments . We thank them for their support for this essential aspect of the programme. As we work together to streamline these processes, we also aim to increase the total number of assessors with representation from every department with STP trainees, ensuring the time and input required is fair and achievable.
Information for third year trainees
Guidance on STP completion 2022
Completion is fast approaching for our final year trainees. The key dates for completion of the STP are:
- Raise concerns/queries regarding sign off of the e-portfolio to the School – August 2022
- Last date to submit an EEC application – 29th August 2022
- Complete the Data Audit – August to September 2022
- STP completion deadline (excluding those with approved extensions) – 5pm 19th September 2022
All the information and guidance on completing can be found on our website.
Completion 2022 drop-in session
We are holding a drop-in session for trainees and training officers who have questions after or want to learn more about STP completion for 2022 on Wednesday 20th July 12pm – 2pm.
Click here to find the event joining information (Expired link)
Information for second year trainees
Guidance on completion 2023
All trainees are expected to complete as much of their portfolio as possible and it is recognised that in many departments training officers and trainees are now in a position to facilitate completion of all competencies.
The alternative pathways to completion should be by exception when trainees are unable to access specific competencies during their training, or where completion of the rotations would be at the expense of specialist training. Any competencies or assessments that cannot be completed must be discussed and agreed with training officers, including providing evidence to satisfy training officers that lack of completion is due to COVID-19.
Further information and guidance for STP trainees completing the programme in 2023 can be found on our website.
Information for all trainees
Would you like to be part of induction day 2022?
We are looking for trainee volunteers to represent the STP during our induction day. The event will take place on Tuesday 6th September at the ICC in central Birmingham.
The roles are:
Host – We are looking for a couple of trainees to take on the role of host during the day. Hosts will be responsible for introducing the sessions and the guest speakers.
Panel chair – During the day we are planning several panel sessions with trainee and alumni guest speakers. We are looking for a panel chair to field questions from the audience and keep the sessions progressing.
University trainee representative – We are looking for a trainee to represent each university at the networking stands. As a university trainee representative you will be available to answer questions about studying at the university and share any advice or tips for the new trainees that will be attending this year.
This is a fantastic opportunity for trainees to develop your public speaking skills and support the new intake starting in September. Lunch and refreshments will be provided and your travel expenses covered by the School.
If you would like to volunteer for a role at induction this year please email us at email@example.com with the role title you’d like to volunteer for.
Submit your STP research project abstract for the School website
On the National School website we maintain a collection of abstracts of STP trainees’ research projects. This collection allows the wider healthcare science community and future generations of trainees to learn about your good work. We would like to update this collection with a fresh set of abstracts from trainees completing the programme this year.
Please could you take a few minutes to supply us with details about your research project by completing the brief form linked to below? All submitted abstracts will be published on the School website in the coming months.
Supporting your mental health and wellbeing
Mental health, for most people, is something that fluctuates throughout their life. In fact 1 in 6 people in England report experiencing a common mental health problem, such as anxiety and depression, in any given week. A degree of stigma still exists around mental ill health and learners in the NHS, like anyone else, may often be scared or reluctant to to talk about any mental health problems they may be having.
It is important that those experiencing mental ill health know they can talk about it and receive help if they need it.
We’ve just added some more online resources that focus on supporting your mental health at work and a supervisors’ guide to supporting learners’ mental health.
Changes in your training – please make sure the School is aware
It is important the School be made aware of any changes to your training which may impact on your ongoing progression, participation or completion of the programme. The School will co-ordinate with commissioning teams and universities to make sure all organisations involved in your training are aware of the latest position to ensure you receive appropriate advice and support so that your training programme can be managed effectively. This applies to all trainees in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Examples of circumstances in which you or your training officer must notify the School:
- Statutory leave – we will need to know the dates of intended leave (maternity, paternity, parental, adoption leave) and any flexible arrangements requested on return so that your programme and training plan can be reviewed and your revised completion timeline confirmed.
- Long-term sickness absence – any period of sickness over 6 weeks or more should be confirmed with the School or if there are multiple short-term absences that trigger local employer policies. It is an opportunity to seek advice about processes that can support your training, such as the Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances policy, and to seek support from the training support team in the School to discuss matters with you and your supervisor in more detail. Click here to find the Exceptional Extenuating Circumstances policy.
- Changes to your training officer/supervisor – this needs to be updated in OneFile but the School also needs to know for accreditation purposes and to ensure that we are communicating with the right people at the right time about your training. Click here to find the change notification form.
- Decision to leave the programme – it is important that you get in touch with the School if you are considering leaving the programme, particularly if this is as a result of issues with your training. Try to speak to us early to get advice and support so that you can determine if leaving is the right choice for you. We will always support your decision to leave but if we can help with any issues that are influencing that decision then we would like to know to see if we can resolve them with you.
- Transfer of training or early employment – there is a policy for this so please review and submit an application as soon as you receive the offer, or earlier if possible, so the School can review and confirm if your training can continue to be supported in your new department. Click here to find the transfer of training policy.
Any changes of the above nature should be communicated to firstname.lastname@example.org and the relevant team in the School will advise you.
Information for training officers
Planning for your new trainees: induction plans
Last month we wrote to all departments hosting trainees this September to let you know the date for induction so you can plan for your new trainees.
We are holding the Scientist Training Programme Induction Day on Tuesday 6th September at The ICC in Birmingham for all trainees joining in September. The event will be open from 9.00am and finish at approximately 5pm.
Curriculum Review update: Microbiology STP curriculum ready for peer review soon
The Microbiology Curriculum Review Group are making great progress developing the new Microbiology STP curriculum.
With Lead Editor Rob Shorten, the Review Group are considering and redrafting the rotation and specialty modules which will form the Microbiology STP curriculum.
We expect to have the new curriculum content available shortly for your thoughts and comments. When it’s ready for review, we’ll be in touch with everyone involved in delivering the microbiology STP. Keep an eye on our Curriculum Tracker and Twitter as well.
Planning for the new curriculum
We sent all training centres expecting a new trainee an email earlier this month. We included all the information you need to get started with the 2022 curriculum. The email is a great resource to share with everyone involved in supporting the trainee on the programme.
The email includes information on the phases of the curriculum, which are a new component of the 2022 curriculum. The phases are there to guide training and help trainees meet progression requirements The rotation modules make up the first phase of training, to be completed in the first year. When the trainee is ready, you can start to work on the phase 2 modules to the end of the second year of training and then onto phase 3 to completion of the programme. The phase in which each module is shown in the curriculum library. Some modules in the core curriculum haven’t been assigned a phase of training and should be considered throughout training. These modules need to be completed by the end of the programme.
All the information can be found on our website.
Planning for the new curriculum: drop-in sessions
We are hosting more drop-in sessions for anyone who will be involved in hosting a trainee on the new STP curriculum in September 2022. The drop-in sessions will be an open Q&A forum.
Our next sessions are:
- Thursday 28th July 12pm to 1pm
- Thursday 25th August 12pm to 1pm
- Thursday 22nd September 12pm to 1pm
- Thursday 27th October 12pm to 1pm
- Thursday 1st December 12pm to 1pm
Proposal for external assessment of STP trainees in the workplace
We are working on a proposal to give greater confidence in the work-based assessments carried out in the workplace by having DOPS, OCEs and CBDs assessed by registered independent assessors.
An initial consultation was held in June 2022, with lead examiners and assessors involved in the IACC. Feedback on the proposal so far has been cautiously positive with lots of questions asked about how it will work and what it will mean for everyone involved in the STP. We are working with the feedback and comments received, to help us answer these questions and develop the workflows required to put the proposal into practice.
We are planning a wider consultation with everyone involved in the STP later this year.
Managing your trainees
Once you have a trainee it is important to make sure that the training placement is a success, both for you and your trainee. As a training officer there are a number of responsibilities throughout the trainee’s training.
Knowledge and understanding of the programme
- Attend the School Train the Trainer and other training opportunities as available.
- Review and become familiar with the curriculum. Click here to view the Curriculum Library.
- Disseminate training requirements locally making sure those involved in the training are aware of the requirements of the programme/curriculum.
- Familiarise yourself with the assessment, progression and completion requirements of the programme and any other relevant School policies.
Planning and preparation
- Prepare the training plan incorporating all required elements of the programme.
- Undertake training and become familiar with the use of the e-portfolio. Click here to find our guidance and videos for training officers using OneFile.
- Provide guidance on suitable evidence working with other trainers/assessors.
- Ensure planning reflects supernumerary status of the trainee and does not include them in staff head count or service rotas.
- Facilitate time to study for the masters degree, preparation for the exams and completion of the e-portfolio. We suggest a minimum 80:20 split between training and protected study time, in addition to time to attend university lectures or assessments. Where and when the study leave is taken to be negotiated between trainee and department.
Supervision, support and progression
- Get to know your trainee so that you can provide professional and emotional support. Undertake wellbeing reviews to give a safe space for your trainee to discuss any concerns and to help you recognise if your trainee is anxious or stressed. Signpost to wellbeing support available in the organisation e.g. Occupational Health and Employee Assistance programmes. Click here to find out about the main sources of support for you.
- Meet with your trainee regularly. Have 1:2:1s to discuss progress, review the training plan and provide feedback to develop your trainee. Remember communication and collaboration is key. Once a month is good practice. Meet more regularly if needed.
- Ensure your trainee receives employer and departmental induction, working with other departments if trainee rotates to ensure appropriate support.
- Make sure there is regular communication and collaboration between you, the trainee and all those involved with training including the academic provider.
- Ensure that your trainee understands the programme of workplace-based assessment and assessment outcomes. Click here to find our guidance on work-based assessments.
- Ensure that your trainee understands the completion requirements of the programme and ensure the training plan supports completion. Click here to find the 2022 completion information and guidance. Click here to find the 2023 completion information and guidance.
- Ensure evidence is being submitted and documented regularly on OneFile, including other trainers and assessors involved in the training. Support your trainee if there are issues with progression or getting work assessed/signed off.
- Provide adequate training opportunities for your trainee.
- Familiarise your trainee with any networking or peer support opportunities within the organisation or across the region.
- Liaise with the University and/or the School if you have concerns about trainee progress or ability to complete the programme.
- Ensure you and your trainee engage and actively participate in any progression reviews by the School as required of the programme.
- Implement local HR and employment policies e.g., attendance management, performance, appraisal etc.
- Identify and agree any training opportunities or activities that require access to the non pay budget of £2K per annum. Click here to find our guidance on using the educational training support fund.
Managing your trainees
In addition to the guidance links above we have created a section on our website providing answers about issues ranging from study leave to funding.
This month’s featured FAQ is:
Q – Can a trainee cover weekends and out of hours shifts even though their contract states they are a supernumerary trainee?
A – 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.
Train the Trainer events
We run Train the Trainer sessions to support training officers that will be taking responsibility for an STP trainee. Attending these events is essential to your training and is part of the accreditation process. Our next series of STP Train the Trainer starts in October. You must attend all three sessions to complete Train the Trainer.
STP Train the Trainer Webinar 1: Introducing the STP
Wednesday, 19th October 2022 10.00am – 12.30pm
STP Train the Trainer Webinar 2: Assessing Evidence in the Workplace
Wednesday, 26th October 2022 10.00am – 12.30pm
STP Train the Trainer Webinar 3: Training Support
Thursday, 3rd November 2022 10.00am – 12.30pm
Save the date – Tuesday 1st November
We are planning to hold an all-day online event for:
- Training Officers
- Training Centres
- Training Consortiums
- Professional Bodies
- Higher Educational Institutes
It will be an opportunity to find out what the School has done, what we are doing and to influence what we will be doing next.
The School are equally keen to hear what you have done, what you are doing and to work with you and help support you with what you want to do next in Education and Training.
Expressions of Interest for 2023 cohort now open
We are pleased to announce that the portal for Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the 2023 Scientist Training Programme (STP) cohort opened on the 1st July and will close on the 15th September 2022.
In previous years we have had additional requests for more EOIs to meet the demand. However, we do not anticipate there being further rounds of requests. Once the portal closes, panels will review the expressions and submit supported requests for funding. The process will allow recruitment to begin in a timely manner, with confirmation of support and funding arriving sooner, allowing your organisations to prepare for the intake of trainees.
We encourage you to submit your EOIs whilst the portal is open.
Missed a previous edition of the STP Monthly Memo?
We’ve published copies of the Monthly Memo for STP trainees and training officers on our website.