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Aspiring Clinical Psychologists Access Scheme

Please note this scheme is currently closed to applications

The Aspiring Clinical Psychologists (ACP) Access Scheme, funded by Health Education England, is one of many schemes across Trusts within London, that is intended to give opportunities to develop initial clinical experience for aspiring clinical psychologist who would otherwise be excluded from entering the profession through unpaid work experience.

Heath Education England (HEE) plans to improve equity of access and inclusion for entrants to clinical psychology training for groups currently underrepresented. Part of the NHS Long Term Plan is to improve diversity of the workforce to better represent the users it supports.

Who is the Aspiring Clinical Psychologists Access Scheme for?

The Aspiring Clinical Psychologists Access Scheme is for anyone who:

  • Is unable to take the financial burden of an unpaid rule to gain experience needed to further their career
  • Had additional responsibilities that means unpaid experience is not a practical option
  • Has had less support to further in their education. For example, you are the first generation in your family to go to university
  • Does not have family support

Please note that applicants with lived experience of mental health difficulties are valued and encouraged to apply.

How does the Aspiring Clinical Psychologists Access Scheme work?

The Aspiring Clinical Psychologists Access Scheme provides paid clinical experience for psychology graduates from underrepresented backgrounds in clinical psychology. These posts are part of a specifically designed programme to provide valuable experience, insight and preparation for the next step to a substantive role such as a paid assistant psychologist post. This in turn should be part of the route map to achieving a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

In accordance with the British Psychological Society (BPS) guidelines for assistant psychology posts, there will be emphasis on gaining clinical experience and working within an established competency framework and ethical practice. As a member of the psychology team, you may be invited to attend meetings and join in CPD events.

The successful applicants will support and enhance psychological practice within the service, under direct supervision of a HCPC registered Clinical Psychologist. In addition to the supervision provided by a Clinical Psychologist, the successful applicants will also be supported in their career development by firstly being invited to a series of webinars during their post designed to develop and nurture competencies such as reflective practice, and the links between theory and practice, as well as guidance for substantive applications. Secondly, successful applicants will be paired with a volunteer peer mentor, who are assistant psychologists working within the Trust. The successful applicants will be encouraged to meet regularly with their assigned mentor for orientation and support, as well as keep a logbook to reflect on their experiences and what they have learnt.

On completion we hope you will be in a strong position to apply for a substantive post in a relevant assistant psychology role or equivalent.

Working hours and salary

These are part time posts (working three days a week), for a duration of four months. You will be paid at Agenda for Change Band 4.

Eligibility criteria

  • Graduated with psychology undergraduate degree (minimum 2:1) within last 18 months of application deadline


  • Due to graduate at the end of the summer term following the application deadline with a predicted grade of at least a 2:1 (N.B. successful candidates at interview will be provisionally accepted conditionally on gaining at least a 2:1 before the start of the programme)
  • Meet the criteria of otherwise being excluded from entering the profession through unpaid work experience. This could be for many reasons, such as: 
    • Family being on a low income or supported by benefits
    • Receiving grants, bursaries or award via your university student support service or government maintenance grants, that is any sum of money not required to be paid back.
    • Being a care leaver or student not supported by their family or parents.
  • Must not be salaried or post graduate trainee in university programmes
  • Must not be studying or have completed a master’s degree (with the exception of a master’s degree completed as a conversion degree for applicants with a non-psychology undergraduate degree OR a combined undergraduate MSci degree on the basis that the financial position is the same as an undergraduate degree and different from an MSc)
  • Must not have held any substantial previous paid Assistant Psychologist post or similar. Previous paid work experience at a very limited period of employment (for example, sessions for less than the equivalent of four weeks in total) as a research assistant / assistant psychologist, will be accepted

How to apply and more information

Once open to applications, an online application form can be complete via NHS Jobs

Visit NHS Jobs

Please also see the attached booklet for more information about the post, placement information and guidance on how to write the supported information section of the NHS jobs website application.

Aspiring Clinical Psychologists Access Scheme information booklet (PDF)

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