The organisation commissioned by Health Education England (HEE) to help push through a second proposal for a pharmacy apprenticeship has again refused to reveal the identity of the employers who are deciding whether or not to pursue the plans.
Skills for Health, who said they have been appointed to “provide facilitation and technical expertise in regard to the apprenticeship standard and end point assessment,” yesterday said they “were not in a position to say anything” on the identity of the employers until after a stakeholder event on July 18.
That reticence came three days after Skills for Health released a statement clarifying its role in the process but refusing to reveal the identity of the employer group.
The original proposals for a five-year pharmacy apprenticeship scheme in England stalled last month after the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education board charged with approving it decided to widen membership of the group driving it forward “to include professionals from a wider range of pharmacy sectors.”
Those plans had caused concern within community pharmacy because of a lack of detail and transparency over who was part of the trailblazer group that had pressed for its ratification. There are similar concerns over a lack of transparency surrounding the latest employer group.
The Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA), who said it had been invited to the stakeholder event, said it recognised “that the lack of transparency and involvement of the profession in the previous proposal was a major concern” and had “privately asked the employer group to identify themselves.”
The PDA, however, said the group had chosen not to do so, “hence we do not know if this invitation comes from the exact same group of employers that were behind the previous proposal or not.”
In its June 10 statement, Skills for Health said: “We have been commissioned to support a group of employers, who will formally come together, following a dedicated stakeholder event on 18th July, should they wish to pursue a pharmacist apprenticeship proposal to the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.
“It is up to the individual, interested employers, as to whether they wish to declare their interest prior to this stakeholder event. At this time, Skills for Health is providing administrative and organisational support in relation to this event, which the employers will facilitate in July.
“Skills for Health was commissioned to support this work subsequent to the development and submission of the original proposal and cannot confirm which employers were involved.”
Skills for Health did not say who else had been invited to the stakeholder event or where it was being held.
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