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The Work Experience Scheme                              (in Psychological Professions)

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Graduate Work Experience - The Work Experience Scheme

Please note we have recruited for the summer intake and not currently open to applications. We will update in due course when the next intake will be. This is likely to be towards the end of 2022 or beginning of 2023.

What is The Work Experience Scheme (in Psychological Professions)?

The field of Clinical Psychology is highly competitive in nature and as a result it can be difficult in the early parts of the career journey to gain clinically relevant paid posts. The aim of the scheme is to provide relevant NHS work experience to aspiring graduate psychologists and support them to take the next step in their career by gaining a substantive post (e.g., Assistant Psychologist; Research Assistant).

These work experience opportunities are unpaid, however successful candidates will have robust support packages and access to training that will help develop their career (see page 15 of the booklet for more information):

  • CPD Talks
  • Peer mentoring
  • Supervision from a Clinical/Counselling Psychologist or Senior Psychological Professional
  • Opportunities for networking

Given the evidence[1] that the profession of Clinical Psychology does not represent the diverse communities we serve, we particularly invite candidates from group underrepresented within the workforce. This includes people from minoritised ethnic backgrounds; people with a disability; people from low-income backgrounds and males.

The idea of the scheme is to make sure the process of who gains work experience opportunities is equitable and as fair as possible. We will also be actively advertising/promoting the scheme to the underrepresented groups we wish to invite (e.g., via community groups/organisations).

Work Experience Scheme (in Psychological Professions) Poster


[1] See Turpin, G., & Coleman. (2010). Clinical Psychology and Diversity: Progress and Continuing Challenges. Psychology Learning & Teaching, 9, 17-27. https://doi.org/10.2304/plat.2010.9.2.17

Details about the work experience placements

A total of 13 work experience placement opportunities are available across different services within the Trust, which applicants can state their preferences for at their interview (please see the placement booklet for details).

Those who are successful will be on the work experience placement opportunity for 1-2 days per week (maximum), for a minimum of six months to one year (maximum) depending on the service and candidate’s preferences.

As these opportunities are unpaid, alongside the work experience gained, graduates will be provided with a robust support package and opportunities for networking via provision of:

- Regular supervision on the scheme;

- Regular CPD talks;

- Regular group reflective practice with the cohort;

- and mentoring.

Typical tasks you will gain insight into include: clinically relevant administration, shadowing clinical work, research/audits, data collection/entry, co-facilitation of groups and joint therapy sessions.

It is important to note that as you are not a qualified member of staff and are unpaid, these work experience placement opportunities are aimed at giving you experience and insight into the role of Psychologists and other psychological professions (e.g., Clinical Psychologists; Assistant Psychologist) and you will be closely supervised by a qualified member of the team. It is important to highlight that these work experience posts are not a replacement for an existing paid post.


The history of the scheme

The Work Experience Scheme (in Psychological Professions) was previously known as ‘The Honorary Assistant Psychologist Scheme’ (HAPS). The HAPs scheme began in 2017 and was reviewed in 2021. This involved gaining feedback from previous HAPs, supervisors and the wider workforce and a Service User Consultant.

The current scheme relaunched this year as the Work Experience Scheme (in Psychological Professions) 2022.

Quotes from previous HAPS:

  • “I enjoyed getting exposure to working in the NHS and deepening my understanding of how a service and a multidisciplinary team operates, which I feel will make me a stronger candidate when applying for a paid role” 
  • “I was supervised by a Clinical Psychologist that identifies as the same ethnicity as me. It was amazing to have this interaction and see where I can go. Even though my placement ended over a year ago, I know that I can still contact them with any support I need and they will help me as best they can.”
  • “I love the concept of the HAP scheme and think it is incredibly valuable to give people the opportunity to work with a Clinical Psychologist and gain exposure in an NHS setting. There was a lot I enjoyed and am grateful for” ​.

Support joining NHS-P to gain paid Support Worker roles within the Trust

As this is an unpaid work experience opportunity, we can support those who are successful at interview (who are interested) to get clinically relevant paid employment as a Support Worker within the Trust on your non-placement days via NHS Professionals (NHS-P).

NHS-P works in partnership with hospital trusts to provide a bank of highly skilled temporary workers who want to work flexibly within the NHS.

Who can apply?

  • Graduated with psychology undergraduate degree (minimum 2:1) or due to graduate Summer 2022 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 role).
  • If a candidate had graduated with a 2:2 – further evidence of academic ability will need to be provided.
  • All applicants must have eligibility for BPS Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) – and clearly state this.
  • We particularly invite those from under-represented backgrounds in psychology including: ethnically minoritised backgrounds, low-income backgrounds, those with disabilities and males.

How do I apply?

The work experience placement opportunities will go live on the NHS Jobs website very soon. We aim to let our networks know when the advert is out.

If you would like to hear when the advert goes live, please join our external aspiring psychologist email list:

Sign up

Webinar and Further Information:

We held a free webinar on Monday 6th June 2022 to raise awareness to potential applicants about The Work Experience Scheme and to provide tips to support the application. 

Watch the webinar  Download the presentation (pdf)

For more information and queries:

The Work Experience Scheme 2022 - Booklet

Email us

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