Trainee Support and Personal Development


  • Personal and professional development is part of a lifelong learning process. New trainees starting on the Trent programme bring to the training their own unique blend of competences and developmental needs, which give rise to their planned individual learning. Qualifying as a Clinical Psychologist marks the beginning of a continuous process of maintaining and developing competences which carries on throughout each individual’s career.
  • This process comprises elements of the maintenance and development of skills, knowledge and experience; and elements of personal development, which enhance wellbeing at work and prevent stress and burnout.
  • During training, personal and professional development is facilitated by specific processes, documentation, and support mechanisms.
  • After completion of training, the process of personal and professional development is guided by the Health and Care Professions Council Standards of Proficiency and the HCPC Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements and regulated by the appraisal systems of employing organisations, most notably the NHS individual performance and Knowledge Skills Framework (KSF) reviews.
  • Personal and Professional development on the Trent programme therefore needs to equip trainees with the competences and support to organise their future learning, to develop appropriate self-care, to comply with HCPC Standards of Proficiency, to use the British Psychological Society CPD framework, and to be conversant with the KSF and the Personal Development Plan requirements of the NHS, as their current and potential future employer.




Each semester, trainees have at least one individual meeting with their Personal Tutor; they may book a second tutorial if required. In addition, Personal Tutors (like all other members of the programme team) make themselves available (within reason) for informal consultations by email, telephone, or in person.

Annual Reviews

Reflective Practice Groups

Reflective practice is a crucial component of trainees’ learning experience and of their professional and personal development. Trainees attend Reflective Practice Groups throughout the three years of the programme. Groups meet weekly or twice-weekly during the teaching semesters.

Reflective Practice Groups serve a number of functions depending on the interests and needs of the members at the various stages of the programme. They aim to be a safe space within which trainees can grow and respond to the challenges that clinical training and practice offers.

Reflective Practice Groups follow various formats including:

  • An experiential group format facilitating self-reflection
  • A scientist/practitioner format based on sharing research experiences
  • A reflective practitioner format based on case presentations



A Portfolio of Proficiencies is maintained by trainees throughout their training.

It is managed and moderated by the Clinical Tutor and a copy is held by the programme. The portfolio charts the trainee’s acquisition of competences and specific skills, facilitates reflection on achievements and gaps in learning, and informs tutorials and appraisals. An up-to-date copy is made available by the trainee to their Personal Tutor prior to the Annual Review.

The Tutorial Record form must be completed by trainees and it records a brief outline of topics discussed and any actions agreed in tutorials.

Trainees should appraise their personal development throughout the programme. They are encouraged to keep a Reflective Journal, in which they may record experiences, observations and concerns, together with self-reflections in order to facilitate supervision and learning.


Support Mechanisms

A range of mechanisms is available to support trainees’ personal and professional development. Resources for these are located internally in the trainee cohorts and the programme team; and externally in the universities, employing authorities, and clinicians in the counties of Derbyshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. Specific support mechanisms are as follows:

PBL Groups (Internal, Trainees, within cohorts)

From the beginning of the programme, trainees work together on their Practice Based Learning Exercises in groups of four. These groups stay together throughout the training. All members of the PBL group have the same Personal Tutor and have one group tutorial per semester.

Buddy System (Internal, Trainees, between cohorts)

New entrants on the programme have an opportunity of meeting up with second-year trainees during their first week, to form supportive pairs based on shared university sites and placement locations. Contact between the pairs is facilitated by a shared teaching day between the first two years.

Personal, Clinical and Research Tutors (Internal, Programme Team)

Mentoring System (External, Local Clinicians)

The programme maintains a list of local Clinical Psychologists, who have made themselves available as Mentors. Trainees can choose a mentor if they wish; the nature and frequency of contacts is negotiated between trainees and their mentors.

Trainee Advocate (External, Local Clinicians)

A Trainee Advocate, who is a local qualified clinical psychologist independent of the programme management, can be appointed by the Course Training Committee; with the remit to mediate between the programme and the body of trainees in case of conflict not resolved through the programme’s consultative mechanisms.

Student Counselling Services (External, HEIs)

The University of Lincoln and The University of Nottingham both have student counselling facilities, accessible to all trainees, regardless of their place of registration.

Staff Counselling / Support Schemes (External, NHS Employers)

All three employing NHS Trusts have support schemes for their employees, either in the form of dedicated staff counselling services, or in the form of reciprocal arrangements with clinicians in neighbouring trusts. Trainees can access the support system of their employing Trust.


Personal information about trainees will be stored and shared in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and any details of a personal nature will only be disclosed with the consent of the person involved, unless there is legislation or another overriding legitimate reason to share the information. Other information, such as that relating to academic performance or placement issues, will only be disclosed on a need to know basis but will generally be shared amongst course staff.


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