"I felt positively challenged to look further into the future and more broadly around what kind of SLT I wanted to be."
NQP Flying Start
A wrap-around Coaching and Support Programme for newly-qualified speech and language therapists in their first year of practice.
Give me 12 weeks of your time and commitment, and I can help you to flourish as you start your SLT practice, with practical training and strategies to manage your new caseload, and solid support to get your NQP competencies under your belt.
Regular one-to-one coaching and mentoring sessions focusing on your personal and professional development, and helping you to clarify the trajectory of your career in speech and language therapy.
Exclusive access to live online workshops and seminars with expert speakers in different clinical areas, with support to link new learning to your clinical practice.
Additional training in essential practice skills such as time management and caseload prioritisation which you can study at a time which suits you best.
Flying Start begins on Monday 12 April 2021 with limited spaces. Are you with me?
"Really loved the session, I felt really motivated from it and liked how I left it feeling like I had a fully realised goal which I had never voiced/fully thought through previously."
"I felt this couldn't have come at a better time - with an increase in referrals I was beginning to feel a little overwhelmed. I feel that these are areas they touch on at uni but applying these skills independently whilst managing the conversations with other professionals in terms of referrals is something I was not prepared for."
"I thought the workshop was brilliant, and liked how it gave practical solutions that are based in theory that was given. Felt like Amy was an expert in this field, and the presentation is great - so good example of what to aspire to."
Flying Start is a unique programme for newly qualified speech and language therapists to supplement clinical supervision from your employer. The shift from being a student SLT to managing your own caseload is huge, and can be overwhelming. This year in particular, the challenges SLT services are facing with Covid-19 places teams under even more pressure, and it can be a tough introduction to the profession for NQPs. I have created Flying Start not just because I want you to get through your first year, but because I want you to love your work and to know that you're building an exciting and sustainable career.
Confidence in building and managing relationships with stakeholders and clients, and organising collaborative working.
Clarity in actively managing your caseload, including negotiating discharges, and being able to communicate that professionally and appropriately.
Control and optimal efficiency in the administrative aspects of the job including writing reports, EHCP reviews, intervention programmes, casenote writing and liaising with others.
How this works:
Flying Start is a rolling 12 week programme across the year. It will require consistent commitment. This means that you sign up for an initial 12 week block, and then if you want to, you have the option to renew for the next 12 week block where we will be covering different topics and trainings.
Each week of the programme will have a different element - one week you will have a one-to-one session with a clear action plan for you to put in place straight away. The following week will have a different element, such as a pre-recorded online training session for you study whenever suits you, or a live online training workshop. This gives us maximum flexibility to fit in around your working week.
In addition to the weekly elements, you'll have access to online support through the peer group and regular "Ask Me Anything" quick queries sessions. It's a phenomenal level of support designed specifically to work for clinicians who are new to practice and to augment anything your employer can put in to place for you too.
"The peer group was a good opportunity for us to all identify things that we were finding difficult and things that were going well. I felt this was particularly useful as there were reoccurring themes which meant we were able to support each other and Amy was able to facilitate conversation to support us to support one another."
"I got real inspiration and practical ideas from this session...The goals also make me feel more in control of the next two terms and focused on what I need to achieve."
"I have already implemented ideas for writing efficient case notes. I LOVE that talking with Amy gives me a different perspective on the situation and I am going to keep that learning in my approach."
Tech and spec
We'll be working predominantly using Zoom as the platform for group and 1:1 sessions, and so you will need to have access to a device where you can use this. You don't need to download the Zoom app onto your laptop or phone if you would prefer not to - you can access everything from the online version.
Every week you'll receive new programme resources and materials, and you'll measure your progress week by week against performance goals which we'll set together. You will be recording the activities and reflective work that you'll undertake in a downloadable format modelled on the RCSLT CPD diary so that it will be a piece of cake to transfer the work that we do together into your CPD diary, building towards your NQP competencies.
Peer support and joint working will also be a key feature of the programme, making sure that you don't feel isolated in your new job even if you are working from home. We'll be using What's App for additional peer group working and support.
How much is this going to cost?
I've thought long and hard about how I can make good my commitment to supporting this cohort of newly qualified speech & language therapists in a way that makes it accessible to as many as possible. I know that as new clinicians, the "industry standard" costs of supervision and coaching of £65 - £85 per session are unreachable for most people. I also know that training and support budgets from many employers have had to be scaled back in recent years (there are some lucky exceptions). I want this to be something that you can afford yourself - because it is an investment in yourself and your own career - rather than risk you missing out because an employer can't cover it. And so I am pegging the pricing of this programme to other areas where you would pay for this investment in yourself - such as membership of your local leisure centre.
So hold on to your hats - here's the package:
2 in-depth personal coaching and mentoring sessions with Amy Stephens, Consultant Speech and Language Therapist
3 pre-recorded training workshops to advance your clinical skills
4 group workshops and peer support sessions including practical activities and case studies clearly linked to your NQP competencies
2 "Ask Me Anything" online support sessions
Individualised goal setting and accountability session
Exclusive access to an online seminar with an expert SLT
Ongoing access to an online peer support group
...for just £12.50 per week with a minimum commitment of 12 weeks.
Are you in?
Are you right for Flying Start?
This programme is not meant for everyone. I am looking for the right kind of person to work with me who will make the most of this exceptional opportunity.
I want to work with newly qualified SLTs who are:
Ready and willing to commit to this work, and who can commit to ringfencing a minimum of one hour a week to work on their professional and personal development.
In the right headspace for this work - excited about possibilities and open to change and exploration to become not just competent but exceptional clinicians
Able and willing to reflect and to identify areas for growth and development within themselves, and able to be open to thinking about their areas of difficulty as well as strengths
Collaborative and kind - willing to share their own experiences and discoveries to support the development of others in the group
Committed to implementation, and able to move from "that's a great idea" to "I'm trying that out right away"
I think you'll get the most out of the programme if you:
Have your first job already (although I can support you if you're still looking for your job in other ways)
Have been working for about 10-12 weeks already, so that you've completed the basic induction at your workplace and have started to get to grips with your own caseload
"These skills are too important to leave to chance."
Many of you will know me already, I think. I'm Amy Stephens, a Consultant Speech and Language Therapist. I trained as an SLT at City more than 20 years ago after a career in the film and tv industry, and I have worked for the NHS, local authorities, charities and for higher education employers - as well as setting up my private practice. I have worked in community clinic, preschools, mainstream and special schools, post-16 colleges, community learning disability settings and older adult residential settings. I work with clients with complex communication and sensory difficulties. I'm the RCSLT Clinical Adviser for Sensory Integration. I teach specialist clinical skills, speak at national and international conferences, design online masters level courses for AHPs, and do specialist second opinion and tribunal consultation work. I'm the chair of a CEN and sit on a couple of advisory boards. I think speech and language therapy is the best job in the world, and I am passionately commited to supporting the next generation of speech and language therapists.
In the first lockdown of Spring 2020, I set up and ran the #SLT2B project to support student SLTs who weren't able to take up their clinical placements as planned. The project delivered daily content and connection for more than 1000 students from across the UK and Ireland, building a community of support and solidarity for the students. The project delivered 156 webinars as well as additional extended workshops and seminars, for the students, and did so completely free of charge.
The response to the project was so overwhelmingly positive that I set up the Magpie CPD webinars - free monthly workshops for all qualified speech and language therapists. You can check out the current archive of webinars in this series on this website.
Answers to some questions you might have:
How much time will I need to allocate to this programme?
Each week you'll need to ringfence around 1.5 hours for that week's activities, but you'll probably want to spend more time on some topics than others. There will be directions for further learning if something takes your interest, and you'll need to allocate time to reflect and write up your new knowledge and practice experiences for your CPD diary.
There is quite a lot of flexibility in terms of timing which can make it easier to schedule around your work commitments. The group sessions are run in the evenings outside work hours, and you can schedule the times for your 1:1 sessions to suit your availability. Some of the sessions are online Advancing Your Skills workshops which you can watch at any time that works for you. Whenever we can, we'll make sure that there's a replay to catch up if you can't make a specific date.
Can I pay as I go?
I need your commitment to get the most from this programme. It can be tempting to put this work on your professional development and longer-term career objectives on the back-burner when things are busy at work - but here's the thing: there is always going to be more work that you could do than you have time to do, and no-one else can invest in your growth and development. It's up to you to start as you mean to go on. And so I ask you to pay for the first 12 sessions as a mark of your commitment.
Won't all this be covered by my employers?
One of first run attendees of the programme described it this way: "I am really lucky - I have a great employer. I have monthly clinical supervision, a supportive manager, and a really nice team. They are really great, and I get the feeling that they are doing everything they can to make sure that I settle well and stay in the job. But their focus is really on helping me to do this job, rather than helping me to develop my career and myself as a therapist, and because I'm working at home by myself it's really easy to feel isolated and a bit out of my depth."
The programme I have put together is the kind of support that I wish I could have had early on in my SLT career, and which would have put me on a better trajectory earlier on.
Do I need to have a job already?
If you haven't started your job yet, or you're still looking for your first job, then I think you'll probably get less out of this programme than NQPs who have been working for about 3 months or so. Don't worry - you can always come in on the next block in a couple of months' time!
What is coaching and why is it different from clinical supervision?
Coaching and mentoring is about developing your personal skills, clinical thinking and caseload management. We will be working on your strengths and skills and thinking about how you can do your job better, more efficiently, and with a view to where it takes you in the future, not about the specific clinical work that you are doing with your clients.
Coaching is about helping you to challenge yourself to be magnificent - to find and develop your unique skills and interests, and to plan how you can build a specialism that you love.
Are you in?
Limited spaces - so don't delay your decision
Because you'll be getting so much individual support from me, and because I need to find other work to pay the bills so that I can keep the costs low for you as an NQP, I have to strictly limit the number of places available on each run. Once the places are full, they're full - and you'd have to join the waiting list for the next available spot.
It's time to take action.
I can't quite believe I'm offering MORE on top of everything I already have planned for you - but it's true! There's even more!
When you have completed your first 12 week block, you'll be automatically enrolled as an Alumnus. This means that you'll continue to get peer support both through your group's What's App gang, but also with access to a forum group with the growing number of alumni as the programme rolls forward.
You'll have exclusive access to regular Ask Me Anything sessions with me and the other coaches who will be joining the programme, where we can help signpost you to resources and ideas as new challenges come up for you in your career. When the pandemic is finally under control, I'm hoping that these will eventually become regular Away Days for all of the alumni.
And you'll also get a chance to access the specialist webinars, guest speakers and workshops on the programme for a nominal fee as we move forward, so that you can find activities to fill out any areas for development for your competencies that need more attention.
Here's part of an email I received from a participant on the last run of NQP Flying Start:
"I cannot thank you enough for making the first few months of being qualified as smooth and positive as possible. I feel I have developed so many skills and also started to consider what therapist I will look like in a few years and what I need to do to get there. Every session (1:1, group and pre recorded) provided me so many opportunities to reflect, identify development points (with practical ways to ensure these are achieved) and also problem solve with support for some of the challenges I was facing at the time.
The NQP flying start is fantastic and a brilliant way to bridge the gap between being a student and becoming a newly qualified therapist. The 'soft skills' you focused on were great as they were skills that are essential to do the job, but often things that we all found we had little experience with and found difficult at the start of our careers. I think it has been brilliant in focusing on practical ideas and solutions to implement, as well as supporting me to look to the future and my further professional development. I cannot thank you enough for building my confidence, building good working habits, supporting me professionally and helping me continue to grow in to the therapist I have always wanted to be! The mix of 1:1 teaching, individual work and group work allowed me time to reflect between sessions, write and implement my own goals with your support, as well as problem solving as a group."
Bookings for this run close in:
Let's get going. It's time to give yourself a Flying Start.
Click the button to sign up.