The training plan

Introducing a key element of the STP - the training plan.


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?

A good training plan should:

  • be realistic and achievable
  • plan for at least the full academic year so that the trainee knows where they are going, e.g. for rotations
  • be flexible with an awareness of deadlines. There should be some flexibility for the both the trainee and the department’s commitments.
  • if possible 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.

Watch this video where Jane Lynch, STP Training Programme Director and Sarah Clinton, Education and Training Lead, Oxford and Wessex Genomics Laboratory Hub share their views on training planning.


What are good training planning behaviours?

Here are some good training planning behaviours for training officers:

  • 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 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 your trainee – in these, the trainee could take the minutes and define actions

What should I include in the training plan?

In the training plan you should 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 induction activity. A good starting point would be to plan for key dates for items such as regular 1:2:1’s reviewing progress and anything else that is necessary, the mandatory STP induction event held by the School, the trainee’s academic schedule and exam timetable, and a plan for when the rotations will take place. Allow for protected time for academic study, and for preparation for university exams and assessment and time for the trainee’s planned elective. It would also be useful to know key assessment dates: e.g. Mid-term Review of Progression (MRP) and final assessment. Make sure you discuss diary availability including holiday commitments for you and the trainee.


Top tips for training officers

Here are some useful tips for training officers:

  • get to know your trainee as an individual – e.g. what are their skills gaps?
  • consider what the trainee has done prior to the training programme, and 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 trainee 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

Further resources