Pharmacy Apprenticeships from the NPA

Status as at June 2019


Structure – Standards and Frameworks

The new Level 2 Standard for Pharmacy Apprenticeships was approved by the Institute of Apprenticeships in November 2018. The Level 3 Standard has been submitted to the Institute of Apprenticeships for approval.

Existing Pharmacy apprenticeships are being delivered under the Frameworks structure, but this structure will cease after 2020. The NPA’s apprenticeship programme will be delivered to the new Standard structure.


Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers (RoATP)

The Government’s (Education and Skills Funding Agency – ESFA) register re-opened in mid-December 2018. The NPA made a submission to become a main training provider on this register at the end of January and was informed at the end of May 2019 that it had been successful. We are awaiting our appointment to the register and further instructions from the ESFA.


Programme content and delivery format

The Learning and Development team is developing the content for our Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeships, which will be delivered via a blended learning format, where the main course materials will be online with other elements of the programme delivered face-to-face via webinars, study days, etc.

Pilot Apprenticeship programme

Initially, the NPA may pilot the programme with a small group of members in England who pay the Apprenticeship Levy. We may work with a third-party apprenticeship provider for this pilot, as we may need this provider to deliver the English and maths qualifications that are part of the apprenticeship requirement.



The NPA plans to be ready to deliver its Level 3 apprenticeship in 2020 and is working closely with its members to design a programme that meets the needs of today’s community pharmacies.


Results from Apprenticeship Survey with Apprenticeship Levy-paying Members

At the end of 2018, the NPA undertook a survey of members with 15+ branches to ascertain their appetite for Pharmacy apprenticeships and to understand how many of them pay into the Apprenticeship Levy.

The results of this survey revealed a good appetite for Pharmacy apprenticeships, the preferred learning formats, the need for the NPA to provide support with the recruitment of apprentices, the popularity of optional learning modules and some concern around the 20% off-the-job training rule.

The results have been very helpful and are being considered by the NPA teams in the development of the apprenticeship programme.


Delivering Apprenticeships to Levy paying and non-Levy paying Members

Even though the NPA was notified at the end of May 2019 that it will be appointed as main training provider on the RoATP, we will not be in a position to deliver apprenticeships to non-Levy paying members until April 2020. This is because the Government’s digital funding process to draw down funding currently is only available to Levy-paying members. This is likely to change in Spring 2020 to operate for non-Levy paying organisations and training providers appointed to the RoATP during 2019.


Appointment of Qube as a Business Partner to deliver non-clinical apprenticeships

Several Levy-paying members have expressed the desire to start using some of their Levy payments for Leadership or Customer Service apprenticeships. The NPA has recently signed a Business Partner agreement with Qube Learning, a privately owned training provider, who is already on the RoATP.

Qube is our partner to deliver non-clinical apprenticeships for our members – more information can be found on their Business Partner page


More information

Click for more information on the benefits of taking on an apprentice, the current funding availability for apprenticeships or to register your interest.