First day at work for NPA ‘Kickstarters’

09 Feb 2021

The first young person to land a work placement in a community pharmacy, as part of a government scheme via the NPA and Reed, started their first shift this week.

With the help of the NPA and Reed, the recruitment company, Balvinder Singh Nijjar, Director of Faith Pharmacy in Manchester, applied to have a young ‘Kickstarter’ working in his pharmacy.

Under the Kickstart scheme, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) pays wages and employment costs for a six-month job placement, for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment.  The NPA’s partnership with Reed enables independent pharmacies to take part in the initiative and provides training.

Balvinder says: “We applied for the scheme to give somebody a chance so they could see what pharmacy was all about.

“We have a senior member of staff helping her get familiar with the pharmacy. She can observe other staff and how they give advice over the counter and operate the till. 

“If she can achieve the Medicine Counter Assistant certificate from the NPA, confidence in a workplace and some knowledge of dispensing it will put her onto a good start to carry on further.”

Nicole Wilson, the Kickstarter who started her first day at Faith Pharmacy on Monday (8) says: “I like learning new skills as well as being able to give back (to health services and the community). This is an opportunity for me to learn something new and when I saw this I knew it was something I could get involved with.”

The 24-year-old spent her first day shadowing the team, making sales, collecting repeat prescriptions and learning about prescription exemptions to support customers with the process. 

Nicole says she hopes the experience can develop her for a career in a healthcare setting.

“I like the idea of progressing and picking up new skills. I like being part of something that’s constantly evolving rather than staying static. I’m looking forward to doing the NPA course too.”

The first phase of Kickstart applications via the NPA and Reed during November 2020 attracted over 700 placements for community pharmacies which have been approved by DWP.

The second phase, which ran in December, attracted over 600 applications from NPA members, and are currently awaiting approval from DWP. The NPA has recently opened up a third phase.

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