Becoming an Academy Trainer

Posted by Debbie King-Thomas on 26/07/2019

During the interview process I was asked “Do you like a challenge?” and my answer was “Why yes of course!” Coming from a dental practice manger background, I faced new and difficult challenges almost on a daily basis. I was really attracted to the role as it would enable me to share some of the knowledge I have gained in the 13 years spent at independent and corporate dental practices as a nurse and practice manager.

We discussed the Academy Trainer role in depth at my interview; how the role is very self-motived as you are working from home when you’re not visiting clients, and to provide tailor made training to Simplyhealth clients either in dental practices or at events. I thought “Yes, I know I can take this challenge on”.

Roll on starting my new adventure. It’s week one and time to meet the team… and several hundred other Simplyhealth Professionals staff by attending the annual sales and marketing briefing. Meeting a small team can be nerve racking but diving straight into meeting a significant amount of staff at the company was daunting. The Academy team went out of their way to introduce me into the fold and made me feel right at home within a room full of people. I couldn’t have asked for a better induction into the Simplyhealth Professionals way of life.

Weeks two to four brought lots to learn! I also started off on the journey of going out with other team members out in the field to observe them delivering training and see practically how it would work for me in my new role. Travelling miles across the country to new customers and member dentists was a big challenge for me; even at 30 I wouldn’t have called myself the most confident driver. However, driving more within this role has improved my road confidence and skills simply by getting out there and doing it.  

My induction was in full swing and I was learning how to approach my new role with balancing the different aspects of training, travel, preparation and study, which was completely different from my old 9-5 routine. I knew there would be lots to learn in my induction period and I wasn’t wrong! There are over 60 training modules within the Academy and I was starting to learn each one so I am able to deliver them effectively to our customers. These topics range from the softer skills of customer care and selling into the core topics of dental CPD such as safeguarding, legal and ethics and now infection control. Even with my previous experience in a dental practice, I have had to learn and expand my knowledge on all our covered subjects.

However, co-delivering with my colleagues during this time allowed me to build on my experience. As a new trainer within the business, I was naturally plagued by some self-doubt, but having a really supportive team around me helped me gain confidence in my ability.

Having been a registered professional and completing CDP for many years, I had a good idea to what a training day would look like. However since joining, I can see that what we offer is definitely not just ‘out of the tin’ training. We really take the client’s needs to the forefront and build the day around this.

I have recently received my ‘sign off’ from my manager and confirmed that I was now ready to prepare and deliver training for our member dentists on my own. I know there is still lots to learn and there will be many challenges to come but I also know that life as an Academy Trainer will be as exciting and fulfilling as I hoped.

To find out more about The Academy and the training we offer visit