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Education and training

Pharmacy degree apprenticeship proposals on hold

Having analysed consultation responses, industry experts have recommended that the Pharmacy Apprenticeship Trailblazer Group should be expanded to represent the wider pharmacy sector.

Proposals for a five-year pharmacy apprenticeship will not go through to the next stage of development until representatives from the wider pharmacy industry are included in the trailblazer group, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IATE) has announced.

The arm’s-length government organisation told The Pharmaceutical Journal that membership of the ‘trailblazer group’, which first put forward plans for the five-year degree apprenticeship model in April 2019, must be expanded before the plans can proceed to the next stage. 

The Pharmacy Apprenticeship Trailblazer Group of pharmacy employers began the process of creating a degree apprenticeship by creating an ‘occupation profile’ — an outline for the role and responsibilities of a pharmacist — which was then put out for consultation by the IATE.

As per the IATE’s standard procedure, a panel of industry experts has now reviewed the profile and feedback from the consultation, which lasted just ten days. The panel recommended to the IATE board that membership of the trailblazer group should be expanded to represent a wider range of pharmacy sectors.

The panel also recommended that further engagement should take place with sector stakeholders during development of the proposals.

The IATE board has accepted the recommendations and, consequently, has put the proposals on hold for the time being. It is now for the trailblazer group to decide whether to follow the recommendations and proceed with the proposals.

Full membership of the trailblazer group has not yet been made public, but it includes representatives from pharmacy chains Boots and Well Pharmacy.

Gail Fleming, director for education and professional development at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said the Society was “delighted that the need to listen to the profession has been recognised”.

“It is important to ensure that all pharmacy sectors have a voice. We will continue to work with our members to make sure that their views and concerns are heard,” she added.

A spokesperson for the IATE said: “Our role is to support employers to develop apprenticeships they consider are necessary to address skills gaps in our workforce.

“[The IATE] ensures any apprenticeship that is developed is high quality — delivering the skills employers need while ensuring the apprentice can thrive in their chosen career.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206583

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