Posted by: Connie Pringle10 SEP 2012
Why workforce planning isn't such a big problem...
It's 2012 and everyone knows, that even for an intelligent, well rounded and fresh-faced recent graduate, it's really hard to get any job. Lots of my friends fall into the cateogry I have just described. Had I the resources, I would employ all of them in a shot - and yet, a common theme is that people are struggling to get jobs doing what they enjoy, and what they have trained to do. All that is (and I don't mean to sound smug in the slightest), except pharmacy graduates. The truth is, that I studied in a class of about 80 students, and don't know of a single person graduating who didn't have a pre-reg place to go to immediately. I'm still flicking through the pages of my pharmaceutical journal every week and seeing adverts for the same job (to start with immediate effect), too.
Pharmacy is without doubt a good subject choice, vocational and full of science with strong people-centered appliation. And, of late, it has been a wise move for any kid seeking to secure a half-decent job at the end of a challenging but delightful degree. Due to the popularity of the profession, it seems that pharmacy schools are popping up in more and more places, raising more and more fresh-faced graduates (like me!?). It figures then, that for future Masters of Pharmacy, getting a job at the end of it will be a far harder task to master. But are there really too many pharmacy undergraduates in the UK?
Dare I declare that I don't think there are. Despite recent rumblings within the profession about a workforce-planning crisis and the outcome of an RPS straw poll this week, I don't think that there are too many pharmacy students, or indeed pharmacy schools in the UK.
I think that if school leavers want to study our wonderful discipline, we should let them. If there are teachers to teach, and students willing to be taught, then allow it - especially when all we can agree on is that the world must learn about the crucial role of the pharmacist.
So what if it's not fair on graduates who've studied years and can't get a job? Of course I write from my privileged pre-registration haven of immediate full-time employment, but perhaps as an entire profession we should get real and recognise that this is a long standing problem existing amonst recent graduates up and down the whole country. Easy getting-a-job-straight-out-of-uni times might be the last to change , but there is no intrinsic reason why pharmacy students should be exempt from the struggles faced by graduates from almost every other academic discipline seeking employment after university.
I'm fairly sure that this opinion will be grossly unpopular but hopeful that others will agree a blanket cap on student admissions is not for the best.