DFT recruitment process 2013

    Vocational training in Scotland

    Applies to: All,Scotland
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    Last reviewed: 12/07/2013
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    Last updated: 30/08/2012

    Dental Vocational Training in Scotland

    Dental Vocational Training in Scotland operates under a separately organised scheme from that in the rest of the United Kingdom. It is organised and administered on a Scotland-wide basis by NHS Education Scotland (NES). Full details on the recruitment process, including application deadlines, are made available on the NES website prior to the launch of recruitment - www.nes.scot.nhs.uk.

    New or recent graduates from UK dental schools must complete a one year programme of Dental Vocational Training in order to be eligible to hold a Health Board list number in Scotland. The list number allows dentists to work as Health Board contractors in a NHS General Dental Practice.

    In Scotland, new graduates on training programmes are known as Vocational Dental Practitioners (VDPs). Training is centred on approved training practices with a complementary educational support programme of normally 25 study days.  Training practices are inspected to ensure that high standards are maintained and a dentist in each training practice is identified as the Trainer and employer of the VDP.

    Longitudinal two-year scheme

    There are a number of places available on a longitudinal two-year scheme, in which participants alternate between practice and hospital jobs.

    Applications to VT in Scotland

    Applications are made through an online recruitment process via the NES Portal (www.portal.scot.nhs.uk) and must be made by the stated deadline. In 2012, the application process to VT and the longitudinal schemes was open between mid-September and mid-October, while applications to DF2 were invited between mid-December and mid January. You must contact NES directly for 2013 deadlines.

    At this stage the information required is very basic and captures personal and university information such as contact details, university attended and expected date of graduation. They require a non-dental school email (preferably not a Hotmail account).

    The interview process for the longitudinal scheme is slightly longer as candidates must first attend a 20 minute panel interview. If they are successful at the interview, they then complete practice visits.

    Visitation period – interviews

    Each training practice will have a practice prospectus within the NES Portal; these are usually uploaded in the spring. Candidates can use this information to plan which training practices they wish to visit during the visitation period, which takes place around March-April (please check with NES for deadlines). There will be detailed information about the practice and staff, as well as information on how the prospective trainer prefers to be contacted by applicants. It is important to look at all practices before deciding which ones to apply to, then visit those that you are interested in. Some travel expenses might be paid in some regions subject to prior agreement from NES.

    It is also important to make sure your CV is up to date, as you will need to provide it to the practices in which you are interested.


    Scotland operates a ‘matching’ scheme in which applicants and training practices are put together based on preferences given to the organisers, NES.  This means the students rank the practices in the order they want to work for them, and the practices rank the students in order of preference.

    Applicants rank the practices at the end of the visitation period. This is done by completing a preference form via the NES Portal and must be done by the stated deadline. You can rank up to seven practices, but don’t rank any in which you are not prepared to train.

    As in the rest of the UK, this process is highly competitive. Limiting your choices on the preference scheme will limit your chances of being matched.


    Matching is completed via the NES Portal, and matching results will be released by email. Make sure you check your email and confirm your allocated place. You need to get in touch with your trainer and their Health Board for the necessary formalities.

    All offers of employment are conditional upon passing final year exams, GDC registration and satisfactory pre-employment checks by the start of the training post. Pre- employment checks will be carried out by the relevant NHS Scotland Health Board.


    If there are vacant posts and unmatched applicants following matching, a short clearing period will commence.  Trainer profiles with vacant training posts will appear on the NES Portal and applicants can contact them to arrange interviews.  There will be no further preferencing and matching – only direct appointments will be made during clearing.

    DF2 in Scotland

    It is also possible to undertake a two-year training scheme in Scotland which covers VT and training in hospitals; a separate application process applies.