On Saturday 6th April 2019, the Pharmacist Cooperative learned that a group of yet-unnamed employers have proposed the introduction of an apprenticeship style scheme to train future pharmacists. The Pharmacist Cooperative is deeply concerned by these proposals and strongly opposes the development of any apprentice-style training for pharmacists.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education definition of an apprentice is “…a job with training to industry standards…and are employer-led: employers set the standards, create the demand for apprentices to meet their skills needs, fund the apprenticeship and are responsible for employing and training the apprentice.”

One could argue this heavily favours employers as the current minimum wage for apprentices is £3.90 per hour in the first year and then defaults to the minimum wage. This could vastly undermine the value of the pharmacy profession going forward.

To train other members of the pharmacy team via this route could work, but to train pharmacists this way would be shortsighted and reckless as majority of pharmacists work in community pharmacies where the employers are mainly retail and multiple-led without a track history of providing Level 7 or Masters-level education training. The A4 size one-page proposal by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education is poorly worded and inaccurately states the pharmacists “…are not required to diagnose and manage medical care.”

Furthermore, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education allowed only seven working days to respond to their proposals, despite them reportedly being in development for two years.

The Pharmacist Cooperative will be working hard to ensure these proposals do not come to pass and ensure the academic integrity of the pharmacy profession is maintained for the future akin to other prominent healthcare professionals such as doctors and dentists to ensure high public trust and integrity.

In the meantime, the Pharmacist Cooperative urges all to respond to this consultation and reject the introduction of an *apprenticeship* scheme to qualify as a pharmacist. This consultation closes on 14 April 2019 (Sunday) so urgent attention is required. Please respond to the link below.

www.pharmacistcoop.co.uk/apprenticeshipPDA

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