Read on as Louise shares her experience of applying for training positions, completing the training and working as a psychological wellbeing practitioner.
As a psychology graduate, I had heard of the psychological wellbeing practitioner (PWP) role but apart from the rather long job title I didn’t really know much about it. So, I did what any self-respecting person would do and googled it! The NHS website actually gives a really useful overview (and I can confirm is a reputable source of information!). This is a trainee role, so you work and study at the same time, usually 3-4 days in a service and 1-2 days at uni.
As the trainee role is a fixed-term contract for one year, vacancies are usually advertised once the amount of funding is confirmed. Most universities have one or two intakes a year and the trainee roles often begin to coincide with these start dates (Autumn and Spring).
Roles are advertised via NHS jobs but also other services that employ PWPs such as Mind, Rethink, and Turning Point. I made an NHS application, which took quite a while, as you have to detail your education, employment, and work history.
Entry requirements are quite vague. You do not necessarily need a psychology degree, but you must have excellent interpersonal skills and preferably have worked with people with mental health problems. When I decided to make an application for the trainee PWP role I did not have a huge amount of clinical experience. I had worked as an assistant psychologist and volunteered with Samaritans, but my main work experience was in an education setting which I really had to reflect on to highlight the transferable skills. It is important to use the personal specification provided to help guide your application.
The King’s Careers take:
Your KASE (knowledge, attributes, skills, and experience) make up your employability. Even though Louise didn’t have huge amounts of experience, her interpersonal skills and behavioural attributes were enough to demonstrate her suitability for a PWP position, and got her through to the interview round! If you are looking to develop your experience, remember that not all of it has to be in the same sector as the graduate work you want: volunteering, part-time work, or being part of a student society all demonstrate your abilities.
The next stage is the interview. I was asked to prepare a presentation and was told there would be a writing task and role-play activity on the day. I (naively) turned up expecting maybe 10-12 people but there must have been around 30 or us there. Many had made multiple applications and knew each other from other interviews (they all happen around the same time so if you apply to more than one service you may find yourself with a busy few weeks!).
After a gruelling interview process, I was delighted to be selected and I’ve now finished my training and am a qualified psychological wellbeing practitioner working in a service jointly run by the NHS and Mind, a mental health charity!
The King’s Careers take: to impress at interview you need to practice! Our Keats pages are full of great interview advice and you can use our subscription to video streaming service InterviewStream – find out how to access it here.
If you’ve got an interview scheduled, you can book onto a practice interview appointment with one of our brilliant careers consultants and we also have IoPPN-specific careers guidance appointments – use King’s CareerConnect to book onto appointments!