The pharmacy apprenticeship proposal is ‘not ready to go through to development’, the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IATE) has told The Pharmacist.

The IATE board decided not to progress the proposal ‘at this time’, it was announced today (22 May).

Reasons include that the membership of the employer group developing the proposals ‘should be expanded’ and that ‘further engagement should take place with sector stakeholders’ during the proposal’s development, IATE said.

It is now up to the employer group to decide whether they wish to re-submit the proposal, the organisation added.


Further engagement needed


The five-year pharmacy apprenticeship scheme, which would see students learn on the job, faced criticism from the sector and pharmacy schools.

According to the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA), more than 6,000 pharmacists responded to the initial ten-day consultation on the proposal, while the Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) said it would not back the proposal unless more ‘clarity and detail’ was provided.

Concerns were raised about the identity of the ‘trailblazer’ employer group who submitted the proposal and whether they were representative of the sector.

An IATE spokesperson told The Pharmacist: ‘[The board] recommended that the membership of the group developing the proposals should be expanded to include professionals from a wider range of pharmacy sectors, such as military, prisons and higher education institutions, and that further engagement should take place with sector stakeholders during the development of the proposal.

‘IATE has written formally to the trailblazer group setting out the reasons they feel it cannot be taken forward to development.’

If the employer group wishes to progress, they will need to take these recommendations on board and develop an updated proposal to be put to IATE for consideration, the spokesperson added.

A ‘route panel’ of industry experts with ‘relevant occupational experience’ assessed the proposal and made their recommendations to IATE’s board, which made the final decision not to progress the proposal.

The apprenticeship standard proposal will remain on IATE’s website for the time being, labelled as ‘under development’, the spokesperson said.

Following a meeting with the RPS, PDA and other stakeholders on 2 May, IATE confirmed that it is its standard policy not to publish the membership of employer groups until after proposals have been agreed.