A level 7 apprenticeship, equivalent to a master’s degree, where pharmacists would train as apprentices on placements hosted by pharmacy companies, had been proposed in a consultation last month. Since then, the more than 6,000 responses were being reviewed by a “health and science route panel”, along with the proposals themselves.
But the group overseeing the consultation, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, told C+D this afternoon that it had been put on hold.
The board “decided that the proposal is not ready to go through to development at this time”, it told C+D.
“The board acknowledged that [pharmacy] is a distinct occupation, but recommended that the membership of the group developing the proposal should be expanded to include professionals from a wider range of pharmacy sectors, such as military, prisons and higher education institutions, and that further engagements should take place with sector stakeholders during the development of the proposal,” it said.
While the current proposals will not proceed further, the institute told C+D, it is up to the employer group – which C+D understands to include Boots and Well, among others – to digest the recommendations and decide whether to develop a new proposal.
A C+D poll last month suggested that four fifths of pharmacists did not support the apprenticeship proposals.
Responding to the news, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) said the proposals had caused “significant concern across the sector”.
PDA director Paul Day added: “If the employer group intends to try again to progress their plans, we believe they should first identify themselves and approach their proposal with the level of transparency which the profession deserves.”
“Simply adding more anonymous members to an existing anonymous group is not going to improve the credibility of the proposal, or the process.”
Read everything C+D knows about the apprenticeship proposals.