As part of the government’s Kickstart initiative to prevent long term unemployment, the National Pharmacy Association, together with employment agency Reed, has helped 100 young people find paid work experience placements in community pharmacy.
The scheme allows 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment find work for six months with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) paying all wages and employment fees. The initiative undertaken by the NPA enables independent community pharmacies to benefit from the government scheme.
The NPA says hundreds of similar placements are currently being processed as it rolled out the fourth phase of the initiative after the first phase and second phase of Kickstart applications via the NPA and Reed attracted over 1,300 placements for community pharmacies.
Michael Samuel, who has a placement in Evans Pharmacy, Ty Elli in Llanelli, Wales, is the 100th Kickstarter to have started work in a pharmacy via by the NPA and Reed since the start of this year.
The 19-year-old, who has never worked in pharmacy before, says he is “really enjoying the experience”.
“Everyone is really nice and helpful. Pharmacy appealed to me – It’s a clean environment, there’s also lot of organising to be done, which I enjoy.”
Samuel has been busy helping serve customers over the counter and processing stock in the pharmacy.
He adds: “Working here in the pharmacy has definitely made me think about it as a potential career.
“Everyone comes here for a bit of hope. I feel good that I am helping the community in some way.”
Mo Nazemi, the owner and managing director of Evans Pharmacy, Ty Elli has two Kickstarters in his pharmacy, including Michael.
He says: “The NPA made us aware of the scheme and made it accessible to us. We wouldn’t have known about this initiative otherwise. We’re grateful because it’s additional manpower in the pharmacy.
“Certainly this would have been ideal to have in December, during the second peak of Covid-19 cases where we had some staff isolate. It gives us confidence that if a third peak were to arise, we would be that much stronger.”
He explains community pharmacies have been “operationally challenged” due to the pandemic so it’s a good time to be looking for talent in the local area.
“Certainly in the towns we’re in, it felt like the perfect situation for us to create more jobs in the community, help train up people and really try and find some talent.
“Pharmacy offers high quality jobs and the opportunity to be very skilled.
“Our plan is to definitely train them and by the time the placement is over they are well developed. We always use the NPA courses anyway so we will be putting them through the relevant training that the NPA provide as part of the scheme.”