Community pharmacies can now upskill existing members of the team or recruit new staff to help serve patients during the busy winter season with NPA’s new pharmacy retail apprenticeship programme.
The NPA Qube package, in partnership with Qube Learning, will help tackle the challenges and pressures COVID-19 has presented to pharmacy teams up and down the country.
The programme is open to individuals who wish to become pharmacy assistants and includes free enrolment onto the NPA’s GPhC accredited Medicines Counter Assistant and Dispensary Assistant courses and a fully funded tuition and assessment for the retail apprenticeship either via the Apprenticeship Levy or a Levy Donor.
Employers who have a pay bill of more than £3m each year have to contribute to the Apprenticeship Levy and this has been a requirement since April 2017. Those with an annual pay bill of under £3m are referred to as non-levy payers and do not have to make this payment.
Heenal Malde, Learning and Development Pharmacist at the NPA, who is the Apprenticeship Project Lead, says students on the programme will get a “wealth of knowledge” helping pharmacies to achieve their business targets.
“They will learn about over-the-counter medications, dispensing and stock control and pharmacy practice and procedures.
“The retail apprenticeship will give apprentices a wealth of knowledge surrounding customer service, sales, products and services, brand reputation, stock and much more, all of which can help drive business objectives.”
During the training, students will complete the NPA courses online and they will be under a supervising pharmacist or pharmacy technician who will be involved in one-to-one reviews and ensuring there is 20 per cent off-the-job training. Qube Learning will allocate students a tutor to support them through the apprenticeship.
This opportunity, which is available for all NPA members in England will provide pharmacy teams an apprentice that will become a fully-fledged member of staff.
“They can work over the medicines counter and the dispensary - but at apprentice wage, along with other potential benefits including government incentives,” explains Heenal.
She says NPA members can also get government incentives of up to £3,000 if the recruits are new and enrolled onto the apprenticeship by 31 January 2021. For existing employees members will receive £1,000 if the apprentice is under 19.
She urges members to act quickly to take advantage of the incentives.
“Members should act immediately. Enrolment onto the apprenticeship will only take a few weeks if using existing members of staff. However, if recruiting new staff, more time needs to be factored in for recruitment processes.”
Other benefits of the NPA Qube package include:
- Free recruitment service for under-19s and £250 if over 19
- An apprentice who qualifies with a Retail Apprenticeship qualification (fully funded)
- Free legally approved apprentice employment contract
- A point of contact and support throughout the whole process right up to the student qualifying
- Employers do not pay Employer National Insurance in the first year for students under 25 earning less than £40,000 per year.
Go to www.npa.co.uk/apprenticeships/pharmacy-retail to learn more