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Vocational Training and Dental Foundation Training recruitment

Dental Foundation Training (DFT) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and Vocational Training (VT) in Scotland introduces new graduates to general practice. It provides a protected environment to work in for a year whilst they undertake training to prepare for working in the NHS.

Each Foundation Dentist (FD) or Vocational Dental Practitioner (VDP) has a trainer dentist in the same practice. The trainer provides the FD/VDP with supervision and help whenever it is needed, as well as meeting with them for regular tutorials. The trainer takes responsibility for the acts and omissions of the FD/VDP. Whilst the FD/VDP, as a registered dentist, will be liable for their own conduct and patient wellbeing.

The recruitment process in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is different to Scotland. An overview of both process is shown below. Our Getting your first job guide also gives more detailed information.

The DFT application process

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the following application process takes place each year.

The VT application process - Scotland

In Scotland the following application process takes place each year. NHS Scotland also produce a useful guide.


Further information

COPDEND has decided to make changes to the national recruitment system for this year in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The main change is that applicants will not be allocated to places in two rounds (January and July), but just in one round after finals (June 2019). Assessments took place in November 2018, so it means a long wait for applicants to know how they have fared, and a relatively short time thereafter to relocate and make contact with the training practice while also trying to have a bit of a holiday. COPDEND's reasoning is that this step will make the system fairer as only those who have actually passed their finals will be allocated to a place, and all have to wait for the same amount of time to find out. We remain concerned about the time scales; we also believe that this system will make it more difficult to monitor whether there will be enough place numbers available in total. We regularly meet with COPDEND representatives to discuss and improve procedures and express our concerns where issues arise that are not in the interest of applicants. We are, however, pleased to report that COPDEND has agreed to widen its policy on special circumstances to include caring for small children; applicants with families should from next year be pre-allocated. 


Written specifically for final year students, our Getting your first job guide gives in-depth information about DFT/VT and longitudinal schemes. Updated every year, it contains useful advice about the recruitment process and what to expect in your training year. All final year student members will be posted a copy at the start of the autumn term.

We tour all UK dental schools with our interview skills lecture in the autumn term.

For students applying to DFT in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, we also run a one-day intensive workshop to help you prepare for the interview.


General interview advice

Our film 'interviewing for an associate job' includes some helpful, practical advice that can be applied to all job interviews.



​Newly qualified members

If you've already graduated, our Starting Out guide is designed to support newly qualified members in the early stages of your career.