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Skills for health statement on new apprenticeship proposals

The PDA are aware of the note from Skills for Health today about further attempts to establish an apprenticeship for pharmacists.

Fri 25th October 2019 PDA Union

The PDA are aware of the statement on Friday 25 October from Skills for Health about the latest attempts to develop a pharmacist apprenticeship.

The note is entitled “Pharmacist integrated degree apprenticeship development” and unlike the previous proposal the note provides the identities of the ten employers represented on the development group.  The note also lists nine other organisations providing input and advice to the employer group.

The PDA welcome the improved transparency at this stage and hope that if any proposal reaches a consultation stage, it will be widely publicised and provide a sufficient time period for the profession to respond.

We will make further statements in due course.

The note says:

A development group of employers from the pharmacy sector met on 3rd October.  This followed a stakeholder engagement event held in July 2019 where outcomes of the Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education’s consultation on a proposal to develop an apprenticeship were shared and further opinion was invited from sector representatives.

Acknowledging concerns raised by the pharmacy sector during the initial consultation on the proposed apprenticeship in May 2019, and a stakeholder engagement event in July 2019, the employer group agreed that it would develop a second proposal taking into account the issues and concerns that had been raised. The group agreed that more transparency in the process is needed and further engagement through a longer consultation period is required.

The employer group will work in conjunction with universities, professional bodies, arms-length bodies and the pharmacy regulator, actively seeking their advice and input to guide the development of the standard.  The group will be considering the initial membership of the group as it is recognised that more NHS representation is required. Currently steps are being taken to address this.

The group will consider the financial viability of the apprenticeship. The Institute will allocate a funding band as part of the approval process which will be a contribution to the overall funding, and the group is also researching other funding opportunities.

Group co-Chairs Claire Flavell, Strategic Lead, Lincolnshire Talent Academy, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust and Vanessa Kingsbury, Training Co-ordinator, Blackwell Medical Services said: “We are aware of the challenges that this development has and we are committed to supporting employers through the process, ensuring the inclusion of professional bodies and the regulator.

“An integrated degree apprenticeship for pharmacists will provide choice for individuals wanting to train as a pharmacist in parallel to the traditional route in order to widen participation and access to the profession. With apprentices needing to undertake an MPharm degree as part of the on-programme training, it will ensure that the apprenticeship route is as academically robust as the existing route to registration.”

As a next step, employers will develop the proposal, apprenticeship standard and end point assessment plan, with project management and facilitation provided by Skills for Health.  The apprenticeship will meet the regulatory requirements and the General Pharmaceutical Council’s (GPhC) Initial Education & Training Standards for Pharmacists.

It is anticipated that the development will continue into 2020 and stakeholders will be invited to take part in a public consultation on the proposal and apprenticeship standard next year. To register to be informed of the consultation, please email

If you are an NHS employer in England and would like to put forward a representative to join the employer group, please email

Employers represented on the development group are:

  • Asda
  • Blackwell Medical Services
  • Boots UK
  • Lincolnshire Co-operative
  • Lloyds
  • Ministry of Defence
  • Rowlands
  • Superdrug
  • United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Well

With input and advice from:

  • De Montfort University
  • General Pharmaceutical Council
  • Health Education England
  • Institute for Apprenticeships & Technical Education
  • Liverpool John Moores University
  • National Pharmacy Association
  • Royal Pharmaceutical Society
  • Skills for Health
  • University of Nottingham

Related links

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is a company limited by guarantee. Registered in England; Company No 4746656.

The Pharmacists' Defence Association is an appointed representative in respect of insurance mediation activities only of
The Pharmacy Insurance Agency Limited which is registered in England and Wales under company number 2591975
and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (Register No 307063)

The PDA Union is recognised by the Certification Officer as an independent trade union.

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