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Student Engagement work

15 December, 2022
Students and new registrants are important stakeholders for the GDC. This is reflected by our engagement programme which we have run for the past three years, where we meet all first year BDS students and foundation/vocational dentists.

This work has had a positive effect to date, with our 2020 perceptions research highlighting that students had the most positive perceptions of the GDC. These findings led us to refine our approach to student and new registrant engagement in the 2021-22 academic year. We used the learnings from our previous programmes, along with insight from the perceptions research, to develop the content of our presentation, expand the range of communication activities and broaden our reach to target all trainees for all roles within the dental team.

In 2022, we held a total of 45 student and new registrant engagement sessions across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England. This included:

  • 17 BDS first year sessions (5 of these were a mixed group including dental hygienists, dental therapists or clinical dental technicians) 
  • 13 BDS final year sessions
  • 1 session for third year dental hygienists and dental therapists 
  • 14 sessions with foundation/vocational trainees 
The total number of attendees for these sessions were:

  • BDS first year students: 1,074 
  • BDS final year sessions: 1,022 
  • Foundation/Vocational dentists: 761
  • Dental Hygienists and Therapists: 150 
  • Clinical Dental Technicians: 8
Overall feedback from attendees and education providers has been very positive.


We presented proposed content for the remaining professions (dental nursing, dental technology, orthodontic therapy) to education providers and professional bodies in April 2022. We will adopt a different approach for dental nurses due to the size of the audience, with roughly 3,400 new dental nurse trainees each year. Due to the varying commencement dates for dental nurses, a series of recorded presentations will be made available online through education providers and awarding organisations and included as part of their onboarding programmes. This approach will ensure that most dental nurse trainees have access to the Introduction to the GDC and Professionalism presentation, during the induction to their programme.

As is evident from the feedback, attendees appreciate the new tone and content of the student and new registrant engagement programme. Providing the sessions online also remains an effective use of resources, whilst interactive elements such as polls ensure that the sessions remain engaging.