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.


To apply for the Scheme please visit the Oriel Website

Applicant Handbook

The applicant handbook for the 2021 round of recruitment for both England and Wales, and also Scotland, is available to view and download below.

Applicant Enquiries

In collaboration with HEE (England), HEIW (Wales) and NES (Scotland), the RPS has published answers to commonly asked questions regarding the National Recruitment Scheme.

Further FAQs can be found on the HEE Applicant Support Portal. If your question still hasn’t been answered, then all applicant enquiries, including locked Oriel accounts, must be logged through the HEE Support Portal website. Please access this website from the button below.

Welcome to the Student Zone!

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On this page you will find all the key information related to the National Recruitment Scheme, including the Person Specification and the Professional Attributes Framework on which the selection process is based.

The Pharmaceutical Journal has published some articles for students on what you need to know about the Situational Judgement Test (SJT) and Numeracy assessment. Scroll down further on this page for some examples and scoring guidance.
You can also attempt a SJT Practice Paper. This paper contains 25 scenarios presented in the two formats you will see in the actual test, with full answer keys and rationales provided at the end of part 2. You are encouraged to attempt the paper without looking at the answers in the first instance, and to time yourself in preparation for your assessment sitting. A reminder that the assessment contains 52 scenarios which must be completed in 104 minutes.

Interested in spending some of your Foundation Training Year (Pre-reg) in a GP Surgery?

Many of the programmes we offer via the National Recruitment Scheme offer placements of between three and six months in general practice, in conjunction with hospital or community pharmacy foundation training. Read more about these exciting placement opportunities on the HEE website via the button below.

Where are we now in the recruitment cycle?

Oriel Applications are Closed for new applicants, Current applicants are now able to preference their preferred programmes. Please see below or the full timetable.


Recruitment Timeline



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


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

October 2021

Preferencing window closes

29th October 2021

First round of offers released

Early November

Offers upgrade deadline

End of November

Programmes commence

July/August 2022