Apprentice pharmacists: could they help reduce shortages?

We analyse the arguments for and against pharmacy degree apprenticeships.

After a hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, talks restarted in June 2021 among pharmacy employers on how to introduce degree apprenticeships as an alternative to the MPharm degree in England.

In this episode of The PJ Pod, we explore the arguments for and against the idea, and consider whether it could help with the current reported shortage of pharmacists.

Reporter Corrinne Burns speaks with Mark Koziol, chair of the Pharmacists’ Defence Association, who is sceptical about the benefits for future pharmacists.

Exploring the other side of the argument, Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, explains how degree apprenticeships could become another debt-free access route into pharmacy.

Finally, a group of newly qualified and future pharmacists give their views on whether their younger selves would have been attracted to a degree apprenticeship.

Many thanks to Osayuki Igbinoba, Vivien Yu, Adam Ismail and Aman Sehdev for speaking to us about this topic. This episode was produced by Geoff Marsh.

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Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, January 2022, Vol 308, No 7957;308(7957)::DOI:10.1211/PJ.2021.1.120918

1 comment

  • Louise O'Brien

    Interesting debate. There is a qualification between technician and pharmacist in Ireland, pharmaceutical assistant. Its a closed register, no more being trained but they did an apprenticeship decades ago and as a result can cover a pharmacist day off each week and up to 2 weeks annual leave. The rest of the time they work alongside a pharmacist. They can only work in community. It would be a good compromise and Ireland has benefited from these healthcare professionals for decades and continues to do so. Ultimately healthcare professionals will seek good working conditions so may not solve multiples workforce problems.


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