Applying for the NHS Scientist Training Programme in 2021

Scientists working in a laboratory

Last updated 8 January 2021

The STP application window in 2021 runs from Monday 25th January to Monday 22nd February 2021

The NHS Scientist Training Programme (STP) will shortly be open for applications for September 2021. Thousands of scientists and engineers of all disciplines work for the NHS, and the STP is how they recruit most of their Clinical Science trainees each year.

This blog post will help you navigate the process (we’ll also update it when there is new information to share with you).

N.B. Some of the resources mentioned in this post may only be accessible to University of Manchester students. If you are not a Manchester student, have a chat with your own Careers Service about the support available to you.

Tips for applying

There are changes to the process this year and we strongly advise that you attend the official STP Q&A webinar on Thursday 28th January at 2pm (we will be!) so you are clear about what you need to do.

There is more info about these changes here, but in a nutshell:

  • You will only be able to choose ONE specialty instead of two.
  • The logical and numerical reasoning tests have been replaced by a Situational Judgement Test – more about these shortly.
  • Reading between the lines, the essay questions on the form may have changed from last year. Matching your application to the STP trainee person spec will be crucial.
  • Interviews will continue to use the adapted format they used last year, moving from multiple mini interviews to an online interview.
  • As last year, if you are offered an interview with an employer this will be your ONLY interview for the STP programme. If you decline this offer of an interview, you will leave the selection process for 2021.

GET UP-TO-DATE: Invest some time reviewing the information for applicants on the National School of Healthcare Science website – and use it in your application!  Read the job description and person spec to get an overview of the role, then thoroughly research the specialism you plan to apply for e.g., check out the relevant professional body for each specialism.

GET THE INSIDE TRACK: If you can, be sure to attend an open day talk. Manchester Academy for Healthcare Science Education (or MAHSE) holds its STP open day in January, still to be confirmed for 2021. If you miss it, they usually put the talks on their website after the event (see last years event info here).

GET READY FOR THE SJT: Spend some time getting familiar with Situational Judgement Tests. SJTs assess how you would respond to a hypothetical situation, based on the STP person spec and the values, behaviours and professionalism they are looking for in candidates. We have some great resources on our website including some FREE practice tests on the Graduates First site and a short online talk. SJTs can be tricky and – contrary to popular belief – you need to do some preparation if you want to do well at them.  Read the NHS Constitution, reflect on what you have learnt about the role of healthcare scientists in the NHS, digest the person spec thoroughly.
NB. If you have a disability or a condition like dyslexia, you can request extra time to complete these tests.

We will update this blog post later in January when we have more info to share with you.

All Applications and interviews

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