A pharmacy job creation scheme, launched by the National Pharmacy Association, has got off to a flying start after it reached 400 placements in barely a month.

In November, the NPA, in partnership with recruitment agency Reed, set up the scheme to enable independent pharmacies to take part in a government-sponsored ‘Kickstart’ employment initiative.

Under the scheme, the Department of Work and Pensions pays wages and employment costs for a six-month job placement from a £2 billion purse targeting 16 to 24-year-olds on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

All independent pharmacies can access the scheme via the NPA, and the benefits include:

  • Saving pharmacy time and enabling them to meet the Kickstart criteria by allowing the gateway partner, Reed, to apply for a placement on their behalf
  • Attracting the right calibre of candidates to add value to their pharmacy and to provide the individual with a great working placement so they can increase their skills and work experience
  • Identifying and screening the most suitable high-quality Kickstart candidates quickly and efficiently without interruption to normal pharmacy trading
  • Giving access for the individual to excellent training through Reed’s employability skills and the NPA’s accredited courses including counter assistant training.
  • Enabling all new Kickstarters to have a professional and consistent experience when they start work in the pharmacy, supported by high-quality training materials and resources to ensure a successful Day 1.
  • A cash grant – on top of the payment for employment costs

‘Demand through the roof’

“Many pharmacies could benefit from additional staff resource in their very busy pharmacies, so we anticipated that this scheme would be popular, but demand has gone through the roof,” Louise Baglole, NPA’s head of learning and development, said.

“Not only will pharmacy owners benefit from having a paid-for junior role to support their pharmacy’s workload, but they’ll also be increasing a young person’s chance of finding long term work. The scheme is designed to give unemployed young people the experience and confidence they need to start their career and increase their employability.

“We are proud to be doing our bit to help young people and society at large in this way, while at the same time supporting independent pharmacies during a period of intense pressure for them.”

Ian Nicholas, global managing director at REED, said: “We believe that our partnership will add real value to the future employability prospects of the young people employed on these work placements. At REED, we are committed to improving lives through work and by giving young people and businesses the right support through the Kickstart Scheme, we’re able to help community pharmacists flourish through what has, and will continue to be, a challenging time.

“REED is delighted to be chosen as the recommended gateway partner for the National Pharmacy Association and we look forward to working together to support the employment opportunities of young people via the Kickstart Scheme.”

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