Pharmacist integrated degree apprenticeship development

25 October, 2019

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