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Boots launches pharmacy technician apprenticeship scheme

Boots Pharmacy Technician Apprenticeship
Richard Bradley: Boots is looking for "young people who will be the future of pharmacy"

Boots will welcome 70 pharmacy technician apprentices into branches across four areas of the UK in September, it has announced.

The health and beauty giant is piloting a new two-year pharmacy technician apprenticeship scheme for “young people aged 18-24 who have a passion for community healthcare”, it said yesterday (July 19).

Applications for the programme – which will be piloted across the Midlands, “eastern England”, Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, and Wales – “have officially opened” for the September start date, Boots added.

The scheme will equip apprentices with the “skills and qualifications” to support the pharmacists and pharmacy teams in Boots, it said.

Apprentices who complete Boots' Pharmacy Technicians Healthcare Apprenticeship programme will graduate with a level 3 technical certificate in pharmaceutical science and a NVQ level 3 in pharmacy service skills.

They can then be professionally registered as a pharmacy technician on the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) register, it said.

"The future of pharmacy"

Commenting on the programme, Boots pharmacy director Richard Bradley said: “We’re looking for young people who will be the future of pharmacy to join our business. This is an exciting opportunity for young people who are looking for a brilliant platform to launch their careers in community healthcare.”

Apprentices will also be eligible for free membership of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK (APTUK) while training, Boots confirmed.

APTUK president Tess Fenn said she is “delighted” with the new apprenticeship programme, “as the role of pharmacy technicians is expanding and evolving at a pace that is required to meet the healthcare needs of a growing population”.

In 2015, Boots committed to creating 350 apprenticeships, with each of the participating 16-18-year-olds becoming a ‘pharmacy advisor’ once they complete their apprenticeship.

C+D caught up with Ms Fenn at the APTUK conference earlier this month. Watch the video below to find out what she considers to be the greatest challenges facing pharmacy technicians.

What do you make of Boots' pharmacy technician apprenticeship programme?

Jonny Johal, Pharmacy Area manager/ Operations Manager

If Boots is run by pharmacists, like in the old days, they would never have done this.

Pharmacist Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Without even reading the whole article, I can say this is basically a tactic to recruit cheap labour. Pay the poor young ones peanuts and brainwash them to work in the Boots way. The poor kid will think there is no other company worth working for and will have sworn allegiance whatever the situation, to thick and thin, till death do us apart I will stay loyal to Boots (unless they 'Boot' me out first)

Pharmacy Tech, Pharmaceutical Adviser

The only reason Boots would do this is for cheap labour, once you've started you'll just be another member of staff, you'll get no time for training and will be expected to just get on with it. Being a tech is a great job but if I had my chance again I would go for hospital pharmacy. 

Leon The Apothecary, Student

I believe there is also a 50% discount scheme for training young people under the age of 25 for NVQ3 training last I checked with Buttercups. Still, access to training is always welcome for young people, and there is always the option for them to be picked up once they've qualified!

Meera Sharma, Community pharmacist

Agree with the comments on here - this isn't about investing in younger people. This is about getting away with paying very little, so there is a reduced wage bill and slave labour. Good luck to the guys who believe this is a good thing - am just waiting for the next headline about workforce pressure from the apprentices!

Sharon Stone, Communications

It will be like the old phrase " lambs to the slaughter " -- poor kids , don't apply .

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

I sometimes wonder if some of these people making these ridiculous announcements have been handling PR for Kensington and Chelsea council since Grenfell Tower. *

*This comment has been edited to comply with C+D's community principles*

Julie Friday, Accuracy checking technician

I'm sure Ms Fenn would think a bit differently if she lost her job due to the launch of the Pharmacy Technician scheme.

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

These are the new dispensary managers once all the pharmacists have been culled. Kids/youngsters on slave labour wages will be checking your meds with full approval of the DoH, ahem I mean Boots. 

Julie Friday, Accuracy checking technician

This has nothing to do with the Pharmacy Technician role expanding and evolving this is Boots way of getting rid of expensive staff due to their length of service and experience. I know they had many Pharmacy Technicians and ACT's that are more than capable of taking on the expamding role this is all about money saving. Boots are on to a good thing apprenticeship hourly rate is cheap and the company also gets government funding for offering apprenticeships.

Chris Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Agree, Boots and other companies can't do anything about reducing hourly pay (legally protected by national minimum wage laws, soon to be living wage) and are about to see wage bills what do they do? Go after the long-servers with additional holiday entitlement, better overtime/weekend pay rates, better sick pay terms, better pension terms, ie. the long-servers...this isn't restricted to Boots or indeed pharmacy, I work in a supermarket and staff turnover has rocketed, exerienced members of staff forced into a choice of unsociable/inconvenient hours or leave replaced with a raft of school-leavers on low hour flexi contracts...experienced, long serving staff are being hunted down...

Paul Samuels, Community pharmacist

Generally that is the case--I work in different locations & frequently find experienced ,senior & capable staff have either left  or retired--I wonder why??

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Retired generally, suggests that they are getting older. Pharmacy is pretty high pace.

John Dow, Advertising

I think before Ms Fenn welcomes this scheme , she should go "undercover" and work for them for a few months . I then suspect she wouldn't wish this on anyone as Boots beat the life and passion out of anyone and everyone without exception .  

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