Earlier in 2019, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IATE), an arm’s-length government body, published proposals that appeared to create pharmacy degree apprenticeships.
Produced by a ‘trailblazer group’ of pharmacy employers, the plans were put out for consultation on 4 April 2019 for just ten days.
The reaction from pharmacy was mixed: both to the proposals themselves and to the way they were launched, with little or no publicity.
The proposals suggested the creation of a five-year pharmacy degree apprenticeship, that could open up the profession to a broader range of talent, but there were concerns over how the scheme would be funded, the make-up of the trailblazer group that drew up the plans, and the consultation — or lack thereof — with the wider pharmacy world.
Consequently, the proposals were put on hold in May 2019, with the IATE saying that the trailblazer group must be expanded if the plans were to be developed further.
And then, in October 2019, the scheme was revived, with a group of pharmacy employers including Boots, LloydsPharmacy, Asda, the Ministry of Defence and the United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, all promising to take into account the earlier concerns, while also reconsidering the funding model.
A public consultation on the plans is scheduled to take place in 2020.