The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has said it will not support proposals to introduce a pharmacy apprenticeship scheme unless more ‘clarity and detail’ is provided.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IATE) published a formal proposal earlier this month (4 April) to introduce a five-year pharmacy apprenticeship scheme that would see students learn on the job.

The proposal has faced criticism from the sector and pharmacy schools, partly due to the scant information the planning document provided.

In a statement issued on Friday (26 April), the RPS said: ‘Without clarity and detail on pharmacy degree apprenticeships, no organisation, including the RPS, can support pharmacy degree apprenticeships.’

Following a meeting with IATE, the RPS said it expected an ‘explanatory note on apprenticeships’ to be published.

However, the professional body called for a further ‘full, detailed explanation’ of the proposals that is ‘subject to scrutiny’ and comes with an opportunity to provide feed back.


‘Further consultation’


IATE’s deputy director for standards development Jonathan Mitchell said the Institute had ‘taken on board’ the RPS’ comments.

He said: ‘I will be speaking to [the RPS] further at our upcoming stakeholder meeting on 2 May, to address concerns and explain more about the plans.

‘We will provide them with a full and detailed explanation at this meeting.’

Mr Mitchell added that the proposal, which began development in January, is at ‘a very early stage’ and committed to liaise with the RPS throughout the development process.

He said: ‘There will be a further consultation once the proposals are fully developed, before it can be approved.’

The initial ten-day consultation gathered over 6,000 responses, according to IATE.

Last week, The Pharmacist reported that the Institute approached the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) to convene a meeting of ‘key pharmacy organisations’ to discuss the proposals.