The training officer
We will need to know who the training officer will be as the training officer will take overall responsibility for the trainee and is identified in the trainee’s OneFile e-portfolio as the training officer. This does not mean training officer is your job title. It refers specifically to your relationship and responsibilities to the STP trainee. There must be a single individual identified as the training officer for each trainee.
The qualifications, experience and skills of the training officer are one of the most reliable indicators of trainee experience and success in the programme. Download and complete the Evidence of meeting requirements for STP Training Officer Role form. This form has to be signed off by the head of department. You should also take a look at the person specification for the role. Please read the person specification carefully before completing the application.
The training officer needs to:
- understand the aims and objectives of the programme and be familiar with the curriculum
- have a level of theoretical scientific knowledge that will allow him/her to provide constant challenge to the trainee in respect of the underpinning science
- explain the programme to others in the department and ensure goodwill and support from colleagues
- negotiate with colleagues in his/her own department and other departments to ensure the trainee is provided with all the opportunities required
- plan training, guide and mentor the trainee, whilst also reviewing the trainee’s progress and addressing any areas needing improvement
- help the trainee manage time and resources throughout the training period
We ask for a postgraduate science qualification because this is the level of the STP. The training officer will have to be able to discuss, explain, challenge, or support scientific thinking at that academic level. If you do not have a postgraduate science qualification, do you have the equivalent in terms of experience and knowledge gained through practice and CPD?
Ideally, the training officer should also have a training qualification. Being able to do a job well does not necessarily mean you will be able to train someone else to do it. Training involves a number of skills, such as:
- identifying a learner’s preferred learning style
- assessing competencies
- giving constructive and useful feedback
- monitoring progress
- taking responsibility for the training plan
- knowing when support is needed
- providing pastoral care and training support throughout the programme
We would advise that the training officer does an analysis of their own strengths and weaknesses as a trainer and some sort of 360-degree review.
We would expect any training officer to have the relevant statutory or voluntary registration for the specialty concerned. Ideally you should be a registered clinical scientist because that is the registered status the programme should lead to. Being registered at that level ensures you are familiar with the standards.
Knowledge and understanding
To train a STP trainee, the training officer must have a clear and detailed understanding of the STP curriculum for the specialty area, especially the workplace modules. They will have to understand the assessment requirements for the STP. It is the training officer’s responsibility, with the trainee, to ensure that all the necessary assessments of competence have been carried out. The training officer should also be familiar with Good Scientific Practice the Academy for Healthcare Science document on which standards for clinical science are based. It is useful for the training officer to be familiar with other scientific specialties closely related to their own because this can help the trainee during the rotational phase of training.
Time for training
To take responsibility as the training officer, you must be allocated time in your current role to deliver training. This means having the time to meet regularly with the trainee(s), assess competencies and e-portfolio work. Meetings should also discuss gaps in training and how these can be met. Training officers should have time to monitor progress and feedback and generally be available to support and mentor the trainee(s).
We recommend meeting with your trainee at least fortnightly to once a month. It is helpful to have a record of what is discussed, these notes can be used to formulate next steps and actions, it is helpful to keep notes as evidence of discussing progress and for future review meetings.
Seniority and experience
A training officer must be at a more senior level than the trainee you are supervising. We would expect you to have a status in the department at least equal to the normal level for clinical scientists.
Departments sometimes ask newly qualified clinical scientists, immediately after completing the STP, to act as training officer for the next trainee. Some recent STP graduates may have considerable work experience in the NHS or elsewhere, but some have come directly from undergraduate study and will not have held any substantive (non-training) post in the health service.
We welcome the involvement of graduates of the programme, but we do not recommend that the training officer role should be undertaken by a relatively inexperienced new graduate. The role is straightforward when everything is going well. But would an individual in this position be confident dealing with a very challenging trainee? Giving difficult feedback to a trainee who is not producing work to the right standard? Confronting professional conduct issues? Giving pastoral care or supporting a trainee in difficulty?
Ideally you should have considerable experience of managing others, at a reasonably senior level, and have received all the mandatory training needed to act as a line manager. If you do not have this level of seniority and management experience, you could still act as a training officer, but we would recommend that you do this under the supervision of a more senior manager. Also, that the division of responsibilities with that manager are formalised in a document which should be supplied to us as part of your application.
As well as management of the trainee as an individual you will be to an extent, managing his/her workload and directing and planning the training. You will need experience of carrying out postgraduate research so that you can support the trainee during the research project. If you do not, you will have to provide us with assurances that you have made suitable arrangements in the department to cover this.
You should have experience of assessing and signing off competence. If you do not, you will need to ensure you have identified individuals in the department who can deliver the required assessments. You will have to familiarise yourself with the standard of evidence required to sign off assessments and competencies and ensure that this standard is maintained consistently both in your own assessments and in those carried out by colleagues.
Training and induction to the role
We ask the training officer to complete National School of Healthcare Science Train the Trainer and cascade the learning to colleagues involved in delivering training. Ideally, you should access any in-house training available, including your Trust’s online learning, to support you in delivering training. Typically, most Trusts’ learning and development teams will run training programmes for educators.
We accept that you will not be able to give us definitive evidence of the personal attributes listed in the application form. However, we would ask you to reflect on your own strengths and weaknesses as a trainer, identify any areas for improvement, and plan to source any support you need.
Support for you as a training officer
The person specification gives some best-practice points which will ensure your activity as a training officer is fully supported by your department. We ask you to tell us which of these measures are already in place. For any that are missing, we ask for an undertaking that you will work with your department to implement them.
For all other staff involved in any significant extent in training
This applies to any staff who will be taking on a significant amount of training and particularly assessment. We need to see that the majority of the people involved have experience of delivering training and assessment. Please complete the Education and training qualifications form. You can include CVs, as additional evidence.