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Student and new registrant engagement work

21 November, 2023

Students and new registrants are important audiences to us at the GDC. They are the future workforce and it is important that we support them. This is reflected in the engagement programme which we have run for the past five years, where we meet all first and fifth year BDS students, foundation/vocational dentists, and in recent years, hygiene and therapy students.

Since the programme’s conception, we have engaged with thousands of students and new registrants, consistently receiving very positive feedback, both in terms of improving the perception of the GDC and their understanding of the role we play as their future regulator.

We used the learning from our previous programmes to develop the content of our presentations for the 2022-23 academic year and will learn from this year to inform the content for 2023-24. Presentations typically focus on topics such as the key role that everyone in the dental team plays, what it means to be a part of a regulated profession, the role of the GDC, complaint handling-with a focus on location resolution and professionalism.

In 2022-23, we held a total of 42 student and new registrant engagement sessions across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and England. This included:

  • 13 BDS first year sessions (five of these were a mixed group including dental hygienists, dental therapists, or clinical dental technicians) 
  • 14 BDS final year sessions (four of these were a mixed group including dental hygienists, dental therapists, or clinical dental technicians) 
  • 14 sessions with foundation/vocational trainees
  • 1 session for third year dental hygienists and dental therapists

The total number of attendees for these sessions were:

  • BDS first year students: 1,136
  • BDS final year sessions:  978
  • Foundation/vocational trainees: 795
  • Dental hygienists and therapists: 250 (notable 150% increase from the previous year)
  • Clinical Dental Technicians: 10.

Overall feedback from attendees and education providers has been very positive.

Now that we have established a sustainable engagement with dental students, which we will continue to refine further to feedback, year on year, we want to concentrate efforts on engaging more meaningfully with DCP students. It is important to address each professional group separately as whilst the messaging might be the same, the delivery and needs of the groups are different. For example, we need to adopt a different approach for dental nurses due to the size of the audience, with roughly 3,500 new dental nurse trainees each year. Due to the varying start dates for dental nurses, a series of recorded presentations has now been made available online through education providers and awarding organisations and included as part of their onboarding programmes. This approach maximises the opportunity for dental nurse trainees to have access to these sessions on becoming part of the dental team, during the induction to their programme.

A more detailed evaluation into 2022-23’s engagement programme can be found here.