The first applications to national recruitment for dental foundation training posts in England and Wales closed on Friday 14 October 2011.
And dentists welcomed the move as a ‘positive milestone’ in the reform of the process.
More than 1,100 individuals applied for places and all those eligible will be interviewed during November by trained and calibrated dental trainers and educators, with postgraduate deaneries allocating successful candidates to training practices in the spring for year-long posts starting next August.
1,190 applications (not all of which may be eligible) have been received for places on dental foundation (vocational) training programmes in England and Wales.
This is fewer than the total number of final-year students at UK dental schools.
Most training posts will start in August 2012, with a small number starting in February.
Dr Martin Nimmo, chair of the BDA’s student committee, said: ‘We have long contested that the old process of candidates applying to individual deaneries was inefficient and stressful, forcing dental students to travel around the country for interviews at a time when they really needed to be focused on completing their studies.
‘The new centralised system for applications that is being rolled out this year is a positive innovation and the completion of the application stage is a notable milestone in its development. We will be watching closely as the remaining phases of the selection process are completed.
‘The experience of both applicants and trainers will need to be properly reviewed and evaluated at the end of the process. That review will need to take account of how many applicants get places and what happens to those who do not. The BDA looks forward to working with COPDEND to ensure the new system is as good as it possibly can be.’
This first ever co-ordinated recruitment exercise for England and Wales was organised by COPDEND (the UK Committee of Postgraduate Dental Deans and Directors), working in partnership with London Deanery.
Applicants to England and Wales may also have applied to Scotland and Northern Ireland and vice versa.
All those eligible to start dental foundation training Year 1 next year in England and Wales will be interviewed and take part in a number of selection exercises at one of five regional centres (London, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds or Manchester) during November.
Those who are successful will be allocated to Deaneries on merit, based on their selection centre performance and stated preference for training in a particular scheme. A training scheme normally comprises 12 training practices and covers a defined geographical area.
A second stage allocation to training practices will be carried out by Postgraduate Deaneries next Spring, once Trainers and Training Practices have been confirmed.
The national process has been developed following several years of piloting centralised recruitment in more than half of UK Deaneries.
Mrs Elizabeth Jones, postgraduate dental dean, London Deanery and chair of the National Recruitment Working group, said: ‘I am very pleased that the on line applications have worked so well. We have been fortunate to have expertise from the London Deanery Recruitment Team who have successfully managed national recruitment to medical training programmes for the last few years.’
Professor Chris Franklin, chair of COPDEND, said: ‘We are carrying out a thorough training and calibration exercise for our interviewers and assessors to make sure that we can give every single applicant a valid and reliable experience at the Assessment Centres.’