National Foundation Trainee Pharmacist Recruitment

Contingency Plan for the 2021 Recruitment Cycle
As the 2021 recruitment cycle approaches Coronavirus is still rife in many parts of the country, and it is recognised that the healthcare workforce will continue to be needed to help respond to the pandemic and its aftermath in the coming months. We are seeing an increasing number of pharmacists being deployed in regional vaccine centres, with the forecast for this to increase and eventually for community pharmacies to also be engaged to deliver vaccines at scale.
Within this context the Pharmacy National Recruitment team have, in consultation with our key partners and stakeholders, decided to cancel Multiple Mini Interviews (MMIs) and base all applicant rankings on scores obtained from Situational Judgement Tests (SJTs) and the Numeracy assessment. This repeats the process successfully used in the previous recruitment cycle.

A joint webinar by Health Education England, NHS Education for Scotland, Health Education and Improvement Wales, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association was held in June to help answer key questions about the National Recruitment Scheme, our contingency plans and the applicant view of the process. The webinar can be viewed at the link below.

Change of Terminology

In January 2021, the GPhC published the revised Standards for the Initial Education and Training of Pharmacists. The fifth year of training (previously called the pre-registration year) will now be called the Foundation Training Year. Learners on this programme will be referred to as Trainee Pharmacists. Tutors will now be known as Designated Supervisors. Please note that the terminology previously used e.g. Pre-registration Pharmacist, Pre-registration Training and Tutor may be used interchangeably with the new terminology for this year.

Trainee Pharmacist Recruitment Overview

Trainee Pharmacist Overview Diagram COVID

What's happening now (Nov - Dec)

Based on their ranked score and their preferencing choices, applicants will be made offers for foundation training, with the first iteration of offers being released on Wednesday 17th November. Candidates have the option to upgrade their offer to a preferred programme if one becomes available due to it being declined by a peer within the scheme. The upgrade process will continue until Tuesday 30th November.

All employers will be notified via email by 6pm on Wednesday 15th December 2021* if their programmes have been filled or partially filled by the National Recruitment Scheme, or if they remain unfilled at the end of the recruitment cycle. Further details about next steps will be provided within these emails.
*Please note, this date may be subject to change.

Applicant Handbook

The new applicant handbooks for the 2021 round of recruitment for both England and Wales, and also Scotland, are now available to view and download via the Resource Bank of the Oriel Pharmacy Programme portal; please select your handbook carefully when accessing via Oriel. You can also access the England and Wales applicant handbook below.


Recruitment Timeline

Please note the dates are subject to change.



Trainee Pharmacist training programme information available on Oriel

9th June 2021

Application window opens

9th June 2021 at 12pm

Application window closes

23rd June 2021 at 12pm

MMI selection centre booking window opens


MMI selection centre booking window closes


Numeracy/SJT centre booking window opens

4th August 2021

Preferencing window opens

28th July 2021

Numeracy/SJT centre booking window closes

18th August 2021

MMI selection centres held

September (CANCELLED FOR 2021)

SJT/Numeracy selection centre held (Pearson VUE Test Centres)

October 2021

Preferencing window closes

29th October 2021

First round of offers released

17th November 2021

Offers upgrade deadline

30th November 2021

Programmes commence

July/August 2022

Complaints Policy

The recruitment and selection process to Trainee pharmacist training places aims to have methods that are fair, transparent and free from discrimination.

We publish our recruitment and selection methods within the applicant handbook.

The processes are designed and delivered by the Pharmacy National Recruitment Office (PNRO) working in partnership with local offices of Health Education England and the Welsh Workforce Education Development Service. However hard we try to respond to the wishes and aspirations of applicants accessing our recruitment services, we do recognise that, on occasion, our service may fall short of expectations. If you believe this has happened to you, you can use the complaints procedure below, which tells you how to make a complaint and how it will be handled.