Apprenticeships key to supporting NHS

Delivering quality workforce.

Apprentices are delivering a well-qualified workforce and addressing skills gaps in the NHS, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said today.

Launching Scottish Apprenticeship Week, the First Minister met a group of pharmacy apprentices based at University Hospital Monklands.

A new £3.4 million Scottish Government recruitment programme will see 150 apprentice pharmacy technicians trained and recruited across Scotland this year.

Throughout their two year apprenticeship individuals will develop skills and gain valuable experience working in hospital and community pharmacies as well as GP practices undertaking medication reviews and liaising with other healthcare professionals to provide effective patient care.

The First Minister said:

“Growing our workforce is crucial, which is why we must increase the opportunities for our young people who wish to choose a career in the NHS such as pharmacy, with quality hands-on training to set them on their path. Increasing the number of qualified pharmacy technicians is critical to ensuring a well-qualified workforce.

“While we work towards returning to pre-pandemic levels of apprenticeship uptake, it is encouraging that the latest Skills Development Scotland official statistics showed almost twice as many people had started Modern Apprenticeships by the end of the third quarter of 2021-22 compared with the same time a year prior. Furthering that progress will be crucial to delivering opportunities for young people while ensuring a well-qualified workforce.

“As Scotland moves towards economic renewal and transition apprenticeships across our economy and public services - including roles in construction, transport and life sciences - have a key role to play as part of the national endeavour to drive a fairer, greener economic recovery.”

Scotland’s skills agency, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) administers funding towards the training delivery of the Technical Apprenticeship in Pharmacy Services at SCQF Level 8.

Skills Development Scotland Chair Frank Mitchell:

“When it comes to supporting sustainable skills through workforce development or providing opportunities for young people, we know that apprenticeships work.

“The combination of commitment from employers and the backing of Scottish Government will ensure apprenticeships work for everyone, making a significant contributor to Scotland’s recovery and productivity growth.”

“The Technical Apprenticeship in Pharmacy Services will provide key support for the NHS, giving people the opportunity to work, learn and earn developing skills that are in demand.”

Pharmacist team manager at University Hospital Monklands Linsey Hayes said:

“Our participation and engagement with these apprenticeship opportunities demonstrates our Health Board’s commitment to the young people in our local community contributing to our employability targets at local and national level.” 

Pharmacy technicians work within pharmacy teams carrying out specialised tasks, including preparing complex medicines and dispensing medicines safely for patients.

Hannah Scullion, a pre-registration pharmacy technician with NHS Lanarkshire, said:

“Becoming a qualified pharmacy technician was always my goal and I am so glad to have been given this opportunity to do this through the new technical apprenticeship programme.”

The National Pre-registration Trainee Pharmacy Technician Scheme, the first of its kind in Scotland, will see Scottish Government funding go towards salaries and infrastructure to support expansion of the Technical Apprenticeship in Pharmacy Services.

The first intake of 50 apprentices under the scheme will start in April 2022 with a further 100 apprentices to be recruited in autumn.


Apprenticeships | Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2022

Official statistics published by Skills Development Scotland on 15 February 2022 report 18,629 Modern Apprenticeship (MA) starts by the end of Quarter 3 2021/22 – almost two times the number of MA starts at the same time last year.


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