Pre-registration placements: applying for pre-registration trainee placements using Oriel

This fact sheet is a brief guide for pre-registration trainee applicants who would like to apply for a hospital or community placement in England or Wales using Oriel. Scottish applicants should use the NHS Education for Scotland (NES) Pre-Registration Pharmacist Scheme (PPRS).

What is Oriel?

Oriel is a portal used for the recruitment of a variety of healthcare professions. All pharmacy hospital pre-registration placements will be advertised via Oriel, and some, but not all community pre-registration placements. The Oriel system went on-line on 1st June 2017 for placements commencing in July/August 2018.

Oriel Guidebook

Oriel has produced a guidebook to help applicants to navigate the system. Examples include help with creating an account and logging in for the first time and what to do if you cannot log-in. There is also assistance relating to areas such as opting in and out of upgrades and amending preferences.

The Oriel Applicant User Guide can be downloaded from their website.

NHS handbook

The NHS has produced a handbook containing guidance to help applicants to submit a successful application. This covers areas including how to access Oriel and what information applicants will need to support their application, All third year pharmacy students should receive a hard copy of the Oriel handbook.

Applicants who have not received a copy of the handbook can request a copy by e-mailing 

The handbook can also be viewed on-line.

Queries about pre-registration recruitment using Oriel

Health Education England has set up a support portal to assist applicants with queries regarding completion of an application form. This service is available from Monday-Friday 9:00-5:00. The support portal also has a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that can be accessed at any time.

Enquiries can be submitted via e-mail at

Alternatively, applicants can visit the HEE Portal website.

Eligibility criteria for applying via Oriel

The following groups are eligible to apply for pre-registration placements via Oriel:-

  • all current third year UK MPharm undergraduates (only students who given consent to their School of Pharmacy to provide their details as requested by the Pharmacy National Recruitment Organisation (PRNO) will be eligible to apply)
  • UK MPharm graduates
  • OSPAP students
  • OSPAP graduates.

The following groups are not eligible to apply for pre-registration placements via Oriel:-

  • Bradford School of Pharmacy sandwich course students (Bradford manages its own local recruitment process)
  • EEA pharmacists requiring adaptation training
  • applicants who have failed the registration assessment once and are waiting to sit their second attempt
  • applicants who have failed the registration assessment twice and need to undertake an additional six month work placement
  • applicants who have already banked some training with the GPhC.

Oriel recruitment timeline

Applicants should pay particular attention to the opening and closing deadlines for submitting application forms, as late submissions will not be considered under any circumstances. Here are the important dates for training starting in 2018:-

  • 1st June 2017 – registration opens
  • 31st July – applications open
  • 21st August (midday) – applications close
  • 25th August – selection centre invitations/bookings open
  • 1st September (midday)- selection centre invitations/bookings close
  • 11th September – 29th September- selection centre interviews/assessments
  • 7th November – first offers made
  • 22nd November – offers upgrade deadline
  • 15th December – last offers made.

Registration opens

Information about the various programmes on offer will be available to view from the point of registration, so applicants should register as soon as possible to allow time to make decisions about which programmes to apply for in plenty of time before submitting an application. Applicants will only need to submit one form, no matter how many programmes they opt for.

Applications open

Before starting an application, candidates are advised to read the person specification, job description, and professional attributes framework guidance. Here are the guidance details:-

  • person specification guidance – this sets out the essential and desirable criteria that will help to inform the selection process
  • professional attributes framework – some of the essential and desirable criteria are underpinned by the behavioural indicators in this framework
  • job description document – this is a generic national pre-registration trainee pharmacist job description

Help with filling in an application form

Some candidates might like to seek assistance before completing an application form. Students could contact their personal tutor for further assistance.

Graduates could contact their university graduate careers service. All universities offer a graduate careers service as standard.

For further information, see our Career guidance: completing a job application form fact sheet.

Can an applicant specify a preferred location?

Applicants will only be able to specify a particular geographical area under the following circumstances:-

  • if they are the primary carer for a disabled person
  • if they have a medical condition or disability for which ongoing treatment/follow up will be needed in the specified location as an absolute requirement. So if, for example, the treatment they need is readily available elsewhere in the country the request for a specific location will not be considered.

Applicants with special circumstances must provide supporting evidence. Parental responsibilities will not be taken into consideration when requesting a specific location.

There are a number of filters available when selecting preferences that will allow applicants to narrow their geographical area if needed (see below under Selecting preferences section).

Requesting reasonable adjustments for a medical condition or disability 

Applicants who wish to request reasonable adjustments for a medical condition or disability, for example, for the selection centre interviews and assessments, will need to fill in the on-line Request for Adjustments form. This form and any supporting documents must be submitted by midday 21st August.

For further information, see the HEE Supporting applicants with a disability policy document.

Selecting preferences

Applicants will be asked to express their preferences from the programmes advertised. Please note, a programme is not necessarily an individual job offer, a programme can be a number of positions being offered by one employer. For example, a large multiple could have a programme containing multiple placements. Applicants will not be asked to express a preference for one individual role from within a programme.

Applicants can change their preferences at any point before submitting an application, however, once an application has been submitted preferences cannot be changed.

A number of filters are available to help applicants to choose their preferences. These include:-

  • size of organisation (community only)
  • speciality (hospital only)
  • the number of placements available within a programme
  • the country/area in which the programme is based
  • whether or not the employer is able to provide tier 2 visa sponsorship
  • name of training provider.

There are three preference levels:-

  • preference – applicants should mark programmes they would be happy to accept and rank all preferences starting with number 1 for most preferred
  • no preference– all programmes are listed in this way initially. If applicants choose to mark a programme as no preference it will mean that they are happy to take an offer from this programme if their initial preferences are not successful
  • not wanted – applicants should select this option for any programmes they would not be willing to accept under any circumstances

Applicants can select the preference option for as many programmes as they wish. Applicants can change their preferences as often as needed, however, once the application has been submitted preferences can no longer be altered.

International  applicants (non-EEA)

International students should note that they can only apply to programmes that support tier 2 visas. Any international applicant who selects a programme that does not support tier 2 visas will not be offered a placement from this programme.

For further information about what is required to support a tier 2 visa application, see our International students (non-EEA): visa requirements for the pre-registration year fact sheet.

Application submission deadline

Applicants should note that the deadline for submissions is midday on 21st August.  Late applications will not be accepted. Applicants should try to ensure that they submit their form in plenty of time. Leaving it until the very last minute is not a good idea.

Once the applications window has closed, long-listing by Oriel will begin. This will include checks to verify the eligibility of applicants. Some applicants may be required to provide additional information and applicants are advised to answer any such queries promptly to avoid having their application withdrawn from the recruitment process. Applicants should note that potential employers have no input in the long-listing process. Employers will only be notified about potential candidates at the end of the Oriel recruitment process (see below under What happens when an offer has been accepted section).

Selection centre invitations

Invitations to the selection centre interviews will be sent out via e-mail on 25th August. All eligible applicants will be asked to choose the date, time and venue for their selection centre interview. Requests are dealt with on a first come, first served basis. Here are the venue and date options for 2017:-

  • Newmarket Race Course – 11th-15th September
  • Cardiff City Stadium – 12th and 13th September
  • Kassam Stadium (Oxford) – 18th-22nd September
  • St James Park (Newcastle) – 18th and 19th September
  • KCOM Stadium (Hull) – 19th and 20th September
  • Etihad Stadium (Manchester) – 21st and 22nd September
  • Stewart House (London) – 25th-29th September.

All applicants must make their selection by midday on the 1st September.

Selection centre interviews and assessments

Applicants will be assessed against criteria taken directly from the Person Specification and Pre-registration Pharmacist Professional Attributes Framework. The NHS recommends that all candidates read both of these documents thoroughly to aid preparation for the interview and assessment day.

Both documents can be accessed via the HEE on-line support portal.

On the day candidates will undertake all of the following:-

  • a situational judgement test (SJT)
  • a numeracy test
  • a multiple mini-interview (MMI).

The SJT is a written test that will consist of approximately 45 scenarios to be completed in 90 minutes. The exact number and time is still to be confirmed. Examples of SJT responses will be released shortly on the England and Wales Pre-registration Recruitment website.

The numeracy test

The numeracy test is expected to take 20 minutes. Smart phones and smartwatches are prohibited, however candidates will be able to take a calculator into the numeracy test.


The MMI will last about 40 minutes and there will be 6 exercises with each exercise measuring different attributes. Two exercises will be sat one after the other in the same room and candidates will then move to the next room. Each exercise will have 2 panel members to assess candidates.

First offers

Following the interviews applicants’ scores are loaded to Oriel which will then generate unique ranks based on scores. Applicants are then matched to programmes according to rank and then preference.

Oriel will make the first offers on 7th November. Applicants will be notified of offers via e-mail. Once the offers are made applicants have 48 hours excluding weekends and bank holidays to accept, accept with upgrades or decline an offer. Applicants who decline an offer will be removed from the process. Applicants who let an offer expire will be removed from the process.  Once applicants have been removed they will no longer be eligible to receive any subsequent offers.


Applicants who opt in to the upgrade option will automatically be upgraded to any of their higher ranked preferences should they become available. The deadline for upgrade offers is 22nd November.

Final offers

Final offers for any placements that have not been filled will be made to applicants on the 15th December.

What happens once an offer has been accepted?

Information about successful applicants will be passed on to employers, but this will not be done before the 31st January. The NHS recommends that applicants do not attempt to contact employers before this date.

All offers will be subject to pre-employment checks, for example, occupational health check and appropriate references. These checks will normally be done 3-6 months prior to the training start date.

Can I still apply for a pre-registration placement without using Oriel?

Whilst all hospital placements will only be offered via Oriel, many community placements will still be offered independently. Applicants should note that even those community pharmacies who are using Oriel may still be offering additional placements that will not require an on-line Oriel application submission.

To view the list of community pharmacies using the Oriel recruitment system, click here.

For further information about finding a pre-registration placement, see our Finding a placement fact sheet.

Other useful information and websites

British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association (BPSA) and Health Education England (HEE) webinar

The BPSA and HEE have produced a webinar about the Oriel Application Process. This can be accessed via the HEE website.

Health Education England (HEE) Pre-registration Pharmacist Recruitment Applicant Handbook

The HEE handbook contains a wealth of information about applying for a placement using the Oriel recruitment portal. To view a copy of the handbook on-line, click here.

Health Education England (HEE) Support Portal

This support portal holds information about pre-registration pharmacy recruitment. There is a selection of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and applicants who cannot find an answer to their query also have the option of submitting an enquiry. For further information, visit the HEE Support Portal.

Health Education England (HEE) undergraduate presentation

HEE has put together an undergraduate presentation for all those who are applying for a pre-registration post via Oriel. The pdf can be downloaded from the HEE website.

 Oriel recruitment portal

Applicants will need to use this portal in order to create an Oriel account and fill in an application form. This site also has a section covering Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). For further information, see the Oriel recruitment portal.

Oriel applicant user guide

The Oriel user guide contains information to help people to successfully navigate the on-line system. This includes how to create an account, making applications and tracking the progress of submitted applications. To download a free copy of the guide, see the Oriel recruitment portal.