The highly anticipated opening of the Scientist Training Programme (STP) is here! This is a competitive three-year programme with full time employment and part time master’s study. If you are keen to apply for STP England, the application window is short - 11am on Monday 9th January until 4pm on 23rd January 2023.
The STP website has a wealth of information including a useful explanation of all the healthcare specialisms. Take your time in exploring the specialisms and thinking about your own passions and interests. You need to show a real enthusiasm for the specialism in your application.
I recently attended a webinar about the STP application process and some vital application advice was:
Gain an insight into life on the STP
- STP Perspectives - trainees in various specialisms share their experiences, as well as provide advice, reflections and things we’ve learned so far.
- STP Tea Break Chats - YouTube videos from trainees in different specialisms.
- Attend events to speak to trainees, trusts and Universities about the programme.
- Follow @NSHCS on Twitter, lots of trainees are offering support and help with the process
- Case studies – Videos and written interviews from a range of trainees.
- Blog – Alumni Interview: NHS Scientist Training Programme – Cardiac Sciences | Careers Perspectives from the University of Bath Careers Service
What are they looking for?
- You need a 2:1 in pure or applied science relevant to the specialism you are applying however they will consider a 2:2 if you have a relevant MSc/PhD in the specialism you are applying for
- Good organisation skills, effective team worker and collaborator
- Emotional resilience and resourcefulness e.g. ability to work under pressure
- Passion and interest in scientific practice and its application to direct clinical care of patients
- Make sure you reflect the job description and core person specification
- Decide on what motivates you to apply for the scheme
- Why do you want to work in the NHS and if your specialism involves work with patients, why would you like to work with patients?
- Show off your leadership skills!
- You only have limited space for answers - edit and review your statements and always make sure someone else reads it over before you submit it
- Don’t focus on technical and scientific detail, a flavour of what you have done is enough. Instead, write about what you did, learnt, reflect on the experience
- Volunteering and relevant experience are assessed equally therefore don’t underestimate your volunteering/nonclinical experience
What type of extra - curricular experience would strengthen your application?
- Working / volunteering with patients (if there is a clinical element to it, even better). Does not need to be in a hospital, can also be volunteer experience with people in social care, cancer treatment, hospice, palliative care and/or children with learning disabilities to mention a few
- Leadership in many different ways e.g. mentoring of children, colleagues, leadership in scouts, societies...
- Experiences that develop you as a person in a wider context, does not have to be lab experience, experience / caring side with patients is also important
Situational Judgment Test
- There are 25 scenarios to read through and 146 responses to rate (50 minutes)
- They use the Pearson VUE platform so go and use their practice tests
- Your SJT – what to expect and how to prepare — Scientist Training Programme (hee.nhs.uk)
One point that was reiterated several times throughout the webinar was make an informed choice about the location and specialism you apply to:
- Consider the department and its specialism
- Research the staff and their interests/work/research themes
- Do you know and/or like the location?
- What is the commute like?
Only select a location you’d be willing to spend 3 years living and working at – once an offer is made, you have 48 hours to accept it.
STP also have schemes in Wales and Scotland with a different application process and timelines:
Remember, this is a competitive scheme, you will need to spend time and energy to complete the application to the best of your ability. You are competing with graduates who have had professional experience and therefore you may not be successful the first time around. Stay resilient, learn from the process and if you don’t succeed this year, gain more experience and apply again in the future.
Best of luck with your STP applications!