This fact sheet contains information about employment contracts for foundation trainee pharmacists. It includes information on what to look for in a contract and where to seek advice.
More often than not, foundation trainees complete their training year without needing to make any changes to their placement. However, on occasion, a trainee may need to change designated supervisors or switch to a new training site. This fact sheet contains information about how to manage changes.
Change in designated supervisor or site
There can be several reasons for a change in designated supervisor, examples include a designated supervisor taking maternity or long-term sick leave or switching to another branch, or personal or professional differences could develop between a trainee and designated supervisor.
If trainees are undertaking their placement in a large multiple and their designated supervisor switches to a different branch, one option would be to follow the designated supervisor to the new branch.
If it is not possible, trainees should check with their employer to see how long it will take them to get a new designated supervisor. It is worth bearing in mind that the 52-week sign-off can only be given by a designated supervisor who has known the trainee for at least six months. So, trainees whose designated supervisor changes suddenly quite late on in the training year may need to extend their training.
For example, if a designated supervisor goes on maternity leave when a trainee is at week 40 the trainee would revert to week 27 of the training year. Trainees who find themselves in this position should seek advice from the GPhC as it may be possible to identify another pharmacist within the workplace who could give the final sign-off.
All trainees who are changing designated supervisor and/or site or extending their training period will have to fill in a ‘change of training details’ form. This is available to download on the GPhC website.
Changing to a new employer
In some instances, trainees may find that they wish to switch to a new employer. Trainees can bank sections of training for which they have a sign-off prior to switching to a new placement. For example, trainees can bank at week 13 or at week 26 provided they have a satisfactory sign-off. A satisfactory week 39 sign-off can be used to register for the foundation assessment, however week 39 cannot be banked. Trainees would revert to week 27 in their new placement because the final sign-off (week 52) can only be given by a tutor who has known the trainee for at least six months.
Trainees should note that they must gain GPhC permission before banking and switching. The GPhC will only recognise training that they have approved, any unapproved training will not count toward the standard 52 weeks of foundation training.
No satisfactory sign-offs
Trainees who have no satisfactory sign-offs can still change to a new employer, however they will start again at week 1 of the training year. NHS England provides a grant for a maximum of 52 weeks of training. There is no guarantee that any additional training required beyond the 52-week threshold will be paid. Trainees who have undertaken a large portion of their foundation training should double check with their local NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to ensure that they will be funded for extended training.
To search for your local CCG, see the NHS website.
For further information about the foundation training grant, see our Foundation training grant fact sheet.
Trainees should also check for the GPhC deadlines for beginning an approved foundation placement, as once the window for commencing training at week 1 has closed, trainees will have to wait until the following foundation year to begin their new placement.
Prior to leaving a placement, trainees should check their notice requirements carefully. Minimum notice requirements are set out in law (statutory notice), however, employers can set out a longer notice period in the employment contract (contractual notice).
Trainees should also check for any additional clauses, for example, a financial penalty for leaving before the 52 weeks of training is finished. For further information about employment contracts, see our Employment contracts fact sheet.
The pre-registration assessment
Trainees who switch midway might want to check the GPhC deadlines for registering to sit the assessment. Trainees who revert to an earlier sign-off may find that they cannot sit the assessment at the time they had originally planned to.
Trainees should note that there is a time limit for completion of an MPharm and foundation training. The time limit is eight years from commencing an MPharm to joining the GPhC register as a pharmacist. Trainees who are coming up to the eight-year deadline might want to contact the GPhC for further advice before switching placements.
International trainees – changing tutor
International trainees with an approved sponsor and work visa will not need to report to the UKVI about a change in designated supervisor as their sponsor and site remains unchanged. The change of designated supervisor will need to be reported to the GPhC in the usual manner. International trainees should also note that if they change designated supervisor beyond week 26 they may have to extend their training owing to the GPhC requirement that the designated supervisor must have known the trainee for at least six months before giving the final (52 week) sign-off.
International trainees – changing site
International trainees who change to a different site will not need to report the change to UKVI if their employer provided details for all of their sites in the original visa application. Trainees should check with their employer because if the original application did not include all the sites this change of site would need to be reported to UKVI. Trainees should also report the change of site and/or designated supervisor in the usual manner to the GPhC.
International trainees – change of ownership
If there is a change of ownership trainees will need to make sure that their new employer fits all the sponsorship criteria and make a fresh visa application. Trainees should double-check that the new owner/company has put in application with the Home Office for a new sponsorship licence.
Trainees should note that for visa purposes, this would be treated as a new job with a new visa and a new certificate of sponsorship reference number, commonly know as a COS, even though the premises have not changed. Trainees would not be able to work for their new employer without a new visa.
Trainees who hold a graduate visa will not need to apply for a new visa, and they will not require a sponsor.
International trainees – going to a new employer
International trainees who are looking to leave their current employer will need to ensure that the new placement meets all the GPhC criteria and those of the UKVI if they hold a work visa that requires a sponsor.
International foundation trainees should note that it is best to seek immigration advice before handing in notice or changing employment.
We would like to thank Citizens Advice Manchester for providing us with all of the immigration information for inclusion in this fact sheet.
For further information about visa requirements, see our Visa requirements for the foundation year fact sheet.
This fact sheet was last reviewed on 28 July 2021.