Here are some of the most frequently asked questions by the public, candidates as well as services. If there is a question you would like to see on here, please email us.

General questions

CYP IAPT stands for Children and Young People’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapy. Based on some important research and findings, the Government – with help from young people – have set some challenges for services. These aim to improve access for Children, Young People and their families to better quality emotional wellbeing services. These services provide evidence-based therapies by highly skilled and trained staff, who listen and include the views and preferences of young people in everything that they do. 

Read about the five principles of CYP IAPT here.

The Community of Practice, also known as the South West Collaborative,  is a collaboration between the University of Exeter and over 20 service providers and commissioning bodies of children and young people’s mental health services. Our service providers stretch across the NHS, Local Authority and voluntary and community organisations working in the south west of England.

The Community of Practice is one of five learning collaboratives across England that are part of the CYP IAPT country-wide transformation programme. The CoP aims to support and improve services by embedding the five CYP IAPT principles: better evidence-based practice, better collaborative practice, authentic participation, and better use of feedback and clinical outcomes across all services.

For services

What we have learned from research is that highly skilled practitioners delivering evidence-based therapies based on a young person’s needs and goals make for efficient services. Young people make steady and consistent improvements, access services more easily, and spend less time in therapy. This means that your service can see more young people in your community, demonstrate greater impact, and illustrate your successes to funders.

It doesn’t. Joining the Community is completely free. All we ask is that you consistently provide us with outcome data that your practitioners in training with us will be collecting. We turn that data into clinically meaningful information that you can use to monitor developments within your service and workforce, and convey to commissioners. The even better news? You can access our rigorous training at the University of Exeter free of charge. With support from your commissioners, you can also backfill the time that your staff spend training with us. Want to grow your workforce? Health Education England (HEE) offer the ‘Recruit to train’ scheme: To expand the number of people providing emotional wellbeing services to young people, if you are part of the Community, HEE will pay the salary of for a new member of staff, AND pay for the cost of their training with us at the University of Exeter. Find out more about the courses we offer here.

We will ask you to ensure that you have good Data Management Systems (DMS) that can record the outcomes and progress of the young people accessing your service. We will also ask you to comply with our Service Level Agreement that details the service arrangements and resources that your staff will need while they are training. We will ask you to ensure that you have robust internal governance systems to ensure the confidentiality of this data, and the confidentiality of the young people that you work with. We will also ask you to ensure that your staff in training, and in the wider workforce, have access to regular good quality supervision.

The courses at the University range from 9 months to a year, and they result in either Graduate or Postgraduate level Certificates or Diplomas, depending on the length and intensity of training. Staff will usually attend University 1-2 days per week, and be asked to carry a training caseload whilst in service. Staff will usually need to work a minimum 0.8FTE (Full Time Equivalent) in order to complete both the academic expectations and the clinical requirements of the course. New workforce through the Recruit to Train scheme are employed on a 1.0FTE basis. Salary support to backfill any existing staff who are on training can be supported in agreement with your commissioners.

We would really value the opportunity to discuss your needs further. If you have questions about the process of joining the collaborative, or want to find out more, you can contact Sarah Dobson CYP IAPT Project Manager at

If you have any queries about how the CYP IAPT programme could help your service, and discuss any challenges you might be facing with this, you can contact our Clinical Lead Jonathan Parker at

For candidates

To attend one of our courses, you will need to apply to one of the services in our collaborative when they advertise a trainee practitioner post. You can search for jobs via the NHS Jobs website and keep an eye on our Latest Jobs page for updates. For the CYP IAPT Recruit to Train courses jobs are usually advertised from around mid-September to December each year. For the Children’s Wellbeing Practitioner and Education Mental Health Practitioner courses there are two intakes a year (September and January), so keep an eye out for jobs being advertised all year.

Once in post, your service would put you forward for training and you would attend university 1-2 days per week for teaching, while working at your service on other days.

Please note it is not possible to apply for any of the courses unless you are employed by one of our partner services. 

The training is free – you would be employed by your service and therefore would receive a salary to work and train at the same time. Health Education England provide funding to individual services to recruit trainee practitioners and pay for their tuition fees. You may incur travel or accommodation expenses during the course and these should be covered by your service.

No – unfortunately we do not offer our courses as distance learning. This is because you need to be working in a placement and regularly seeing clients while also attending university for 1-2 days per week to share learning with your fellow students and attend supervision.

Eligibility criteria depends on the course you wish to apply for so please check the individual course pages.

As a general rule, Graduate Diplomas/Certificates require you to have a Level 5 qualification, while Postgraduate Diplomas/Certificates require a Level 6 qualification (usually an undergraduate degree or equivalent). For more information about qualification levels see this link.

In terms of other experience required, most courses will ask for a background in mental health and some experience of working with children and families – the amount of experience needed depends on the course and some also require you to have an accredited core profession.

The Recruit to Train CYP IAPT CBT, Parenting and SFP courses require candidates to have a ‘core profession’. This means a professional background which is recognised by BABCP or AFT. Commonly recognised core professions include:

  • Arts Therapists – HCPC Registered
  • Counselling – Accredited with the BACP, IACP, COSCA, or FDAP (NCAC), or Registered Member CPC
  • Medicine – Psychiatrist or General Practitioner, MBChB or MBBS, and usually PG training with membership of MRCGP, MRCP or MRCPsych
  • Occupational Therapy – BSc (Hons) Occupational Therapy, MSc Occupational Therapy, or Dip C.O.T and HCPC Registered
  • Probation Services – DipPS
  • Psychology – 1st degree plus a post-graduate qualification (MSc or Doctorate) in an applied area such as clinical, counselling, educational, forensic, health psychology. HCPC Registered as Practitioner Psychologist (HCPC registration alone insufficient)
  • Psychotherapy / Psychotherapeutic Counselling with UKCP Registration
  • Registered Nurse – Mental Health (RMN), or Learning Disability (general nursing and enrolled nursing is insufficient)
  • Social Work – CQSW, DipSW or BA/BSc Hons Social Work
  • Teacher of Special Education / Needs – CertEd, B.Ed, or BA/BSc with PGCE, plus additional specialist training in Special Education, with additional counselling / psychotherapy training

If you do not have one of these core professions, you may be able to apply via the ‘KSA’ route, which means you complete a portfolio throughout the year demonstrating your key skills and competencies. More information can be found on the individual course pages.

If you are unsure whether you have a core profession, please send us a message and we’ll contact you as soon as possible.

The Community of Practice partner services are listed here. However please note that not all services will offer all courses so this will depend on funding and service requirements each year.

The best option is to check NHS jobs, this website and general recruitment sites and search for ‘trainee practitioner jobs’ in CYP IAPT, CWP, EMHP, etc.

If you need further guidance on how to apply please get in touch with us.

The amount of teaching days per week depends on your course – most courses have block weeks at the beginning while you’re settling in, and then you would attend 1 or 2 days of teaching per week. This would also include university supervision time.

You would be required to complete a number of assessments over the year which contribute towards your final grade – these may include among others: essays, case reports, case presentations, competency tapes, portfolios.