We know that Summer 2014 seems a long way off at the moment, especially as this Summer isn't over yet (we hope)! Recruitment for trainees starting the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) Pre-registration Scheme has already started and careers fairs are long gone. Many larger organisations are already in the process of shortlisting applicants and recruiting them to ensure that they get the best trainees and that the undergraduates focus back on the final year of their Masters of Pharmacy degree instead of worrying whether they have a training place organised. 

The starting date of the training year is critical to both employer and trainee alike as this can have repercussions on when trainees are eligible for registration and may be able to start work as a pharmacist (and so earn money). The training year is, exactly that, 52 weeks of training within which holidays may be taken. The training year cannot be reduced as you would like holidays saved up and taken off at the end of the year. This means that the start date is very important.

Although undergraduates may start training at any point from the beginning of July, most choose not to do this as they cannot register until after they pass the GPhC Summer registration assessment, the results of which are posted at the end of July. Since the GPhC then only registers applicants on the 1st or 15th day of any given month, then this also impacts potential registration dates with the earliest date for registration being 1st August in any given year. Organisations and trainees often therefore opt to start training at the beginning of August meaning that there is no gap between completing the year and registering. If trainees start on the Monday 4th  August 2014, the earliest they can register will be 15th August 2015 as they would not have done 52 weeks to make the 1st August 2015 registration date. 

If you're recruiting a trainee or looking at potential start dates then note that the first potential registration date in 2015 is 1st August 2015 and this is a Saturday. Registration will still happen on this date, but there is no office support at the GPhC on Saturdays should there be some issue and the trainee's name does not appear on the electronic register http://www.pharmacyregulation.org

The GPhC therefore would advise you to consider making the start date Friday 1st August 2014 or if possible just before if you want them to register on 1st August 2015. This is good advice as it's important that there is sufficient time to help support you through any issues that may arise (although we hope there won't be any)!