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New South East Trainee Psychologist Programme launched

 New South East trainee psychologist programme

“This is an impressive achievement that would not have been possible without the support of the HSE’s psychology management nationally, the psychology course management in UCD, and a decisive and committed management team here in SECH,” according to Dr Tom Pender, Principal Psychologist Manager, HSE South East Community Healthcare (SECH) Waterford, speaking at the Kilkenny launch of a significant collaborative educational and training programme involving psychology services.

Organised by SECH, the occasion doubled as a research symposium for colleagues across psychology services in counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford and Wexford and as an official launch of the Trainee Psychologist Initiative between SECH and University College Dublin (UCD).  

Supporting trainees

SECH has a long history of working with UCD, specifically with the Clinical Psychology Doctorate, to support and fund a number of trainees. As part of this, all funded trainees have a HSE contract. The HSE also funds a large portion of the trainee’s university fees. SECH, in close collaboration with UCD, also provide a co-ordinated approach to the trainees’ placements that reflect each trainee’s individual learning needs as they evolve across the three year programme. This allows for highly qualified and highly skilled psychologists to emerge ready to work in the HSE once their training is complete.

Dr Pender added that “both of our most recent Chief Officers Kate Killeen White and Grace Rothwell were great supporters and ensured the Memorandum of Understanding with both UCD courses were in place. These documents detail the exact workings of SECH’s collaboration with UCD and firmly commit SECH to the UCD Psychology Training Programmes into the longer term.”

In early 2023 each HSE region, through their Chief Officer, committed to an overall increase of 74% in psychology trainees by September 2025 - starting from September 2023.

To date, there have been seven SECH funded trainees on the National Trainee Psychologist Initiative. Following the launch of the initiative and through collaboration with the UCD Educational Psychology Doctoral Programme, this will now increase by 15 additional funded trainees over the coming years. Five newly funded trainees commenced their studies in September 2023. UCD and SECH are currently working to select the next five trainees for September 2024. A further five will be commence in September 2025, bringing the overall total number of SECH funded trainees to 22. This is a tripling of the funded trainee places.