24 Jun 2015
Flexi is a word that you become very familiar with towards the middle of the first year of the scheme. From February onwards every time the cohort meet for various events it is inevitable that at some point flexi's will be discussed.
Flexi is short for flexi-placement. It is a two month placement that all trainees undertake at some point on the scheme. For General, HR and Informatics trainees this takes place September and October of the second year. Where you do your flexi placement is the choice of the trainee. It can be NHS or non-NHS, in the public, private or charity sector. The world is your oyster - so long as that oyster is in England. It is essentially the time to learn something new to bring back to the NHS.
There are some placements that are organised nationally and centrally organised. These are advertised through the NHS Leadership Academy and all trainees can apply for them no matter their region. This year companies such as KPMG, Deloitte, BDO, Department of Health and the King's Fund have advertised placements through the academy. Applying for a place at a centrally organised placement means going through a recruitment process with other trainees. The usual CV, cover letter, interviews etc. are required which can be competitive especially if there is only one place available. This process for General, HR and Informatics trainees starts in the March before the placement which is why it is often a hot topic at any event around this time.
For those that aren't interested in one of the centrally organised placements they can organise placements themselves. I know a few recent examples have been local CCG's, NHS England, charities, local councils and big private companies. There are lots and lots of options out there.
But having so many options can sometimes make it hard to decide what you want to do. Especially if you are interested in lots of different areas. Flexi soon becomes a word that you start to dislike at events. If you're the sort of person struggling to decide what to do hearing about X number of offers Fred has had already and how Wilma has already set up what she wants to do at so and so place can make it even harder to decide. In all honesty it is best to ignore what everyone else is doing and figure out what interests you. There are a hundred trainees every year doing flexi placements and plenty more options out there then there are trainees. The point isn't to be doing what everyone else is doing but to do what you want to do and what you're going to learn from. There is no rush just because Barney had his sorted back in January. Do enough research and spend enough time reflecting on your interests and you can make sure you have the right placement for you.