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Finding a pre-registration placement

The pre-registration year is the beginning of your career as a successful pharmacist and it is important that you make the most of it. Here are our top tips on things to consider when you are choosing your placement.

What did you do last summer?

Certain employers now recruit some or all of their pre-registration trainees from people who have participated in their summer placement scheme. Your part-time/summer work can have a bearing on the range of pre-registration placements you can apply for. Double check with your student union, they often have very good contacts and details of possible vacancies.


Many employers now recruit trainees a year in advance of the placement start date. Investigate different companies/hospitals/independents to find out what their recruitment schedules are. You will also need to know what you are expected to submit. Have your cover letter, CV and other supporting evidence ready in advance. You might want to ask your university career service or personal tutor to review your application. Do not leave it until the last minute.

Open days

Many employers will offer open days or even organise visits to universities. Make sure you attend these. Employers will often mention the key skills that they are looking for in a pre-registration trainee. If the employer is somebody that you are interested in working for, you should make a note of these key skills and try to ensure that you encompass them in your CV/application form and cover letter.

Hospital or community

The NHS recruitment timetable can often differ from that of community pharmacy employers. This can lead to trainees receiving an offer from one employer whilst still waiting for an offer from their preferred employer. If you find yourself in this situation and are concerned about contractual obligations once you have committed to a job offer, you can contact us for a referral to a specialist employment adviser for further guidance and advice.

What’s in it for you?

Whilst trainees who are unhappy with a placement can switch, it is best to try and establish what your prospective employer is offering in terms of training well in advance of the placement beginning. If an employer is not willing to engage and assist with a definite training plan, then the placement might not be suitable.

For further information on finding a pre-registration placement, including training providers and a check-list of things to consider, see our Finding a pre-registration placement fact sheet.

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