Dispensing practices’ in more rural locations often find recruiting new staff incredibly difficult,
due to the longer commuter distances involved and the specific qualifications required. Inspiring
current employees to develop and up-skill is vital and could be the answer. This can be easily
achieved by offering your existing staff the chance to gain non-dispensing qualifications through
Dispex has teamed up with Paragon Skills, in order to provide our customers with access to
business related apprenticeships, such as Customer Service Level 2 and Business Administration
Level 3, Project Management Level 4 or Operations Management Level 5.
Equally, turning a new position into an apprenticeship vastly increases the appeal of the role to
prospective candidates. This improves both the quality of applications and your ability to retain
talent. Apprenticeships have been around for a long time, but they have changed out of all
proportion in the last 4 years. However, there still seems to be a lot of misconceptions and
myths surrounding them, therefore we are here to bust some common myths!
Apprenticeships are only for school leavers
BUSTED: Anyone can be an apprentice – the majority of funding is spent on people over 25,
who have been with their organisation for more than a year and are studying for a higher level
Apprenticeships are only for those that didn’t perform well at school
BUSTED: Apprenticeships range from Level 2 (GCSE), Level 3 (A level), Level 4 and 5
(foundation degree or HND), Level 6 Degree up to a Level 7 Masters. Therefore, you can
build upon existing achievements.
My employer won’t be able to fund my apprenticeship
BUSTED: If your employer has a wage bill over £3 million pa or is part of an organisation
that does, then the cost of the course is funded through the Levy. This is a charge made on
all larger employers who pay ½ % over £3m pa of their wage bill to the exchequer. This money
is then increased by 10% and put into their Levy account. This money must be used within 2
years or it goes back to the Government automatically. It can only be used for apprenticeship
If you’re a smaller employer then the Government funds 95% of the training cost and the
employer 5%. Smaller employers often apply for a Levy donation from a large employer with
spare Levy money. Rather than lose the funds, many would rather donate (up to 25% of their pot)
to other smaller organisations – NHS trusts often do this as do local and regional authorities.
The sign-up process will be too lengthy and complicated for my busy Manager
BUSTED: It only takes a few minutes to set up. Your manager will need to set up a DAS account (they
may already have one!). This is an online apprenticeship account you will have with the Government’s
ESFA and it links you to the Government for funding and incentives. This is where you select the
provider, such as Paragon Skills, they then provide the training and administration.
You will need to provide the apprentice’s details and employee details to Paragon Skills. There is also
an apprenticeship contract which the learner, employer and Paragon Skills have to sign – this only takes
a minute and means Paragon Skills remains compliant.
I work in a busy environment, so I won’t have time to learn
BUSTED: Each apprentice only needs to allow 20% of their work time given over to learning. This is
completely flexible because it is delivered at the apprentice’s place of work and at a time to suit them
and their employer. No time away on day or block release and the employee can be available at busy
times of the day or year. An apprentice keeps a diary of their off the job learning and the tutor supports
them with this, to include a wide range of working activities that constitute learning.
All apprentices are low paid
BUSTED: Apprentices must receive the minimum wage if new to an employer, however many companies
pay more. If you are already employed, then your wage should not decrease. Don’t forget, an apprenticeship
is a debt free way of learning.
I don’t have 3 years to study, therefore an apprenticeship is not for me
BUSTED: You can complete a 24 month apprenticeship in 12 months if you have the time, ability and
desire to do so. However, there is a minimum stipulation of 12 months duration. Some apprenticeships
do go up to 5 years.
I don’t know if the qualifications are valued
BUSTED: Many Apprenticeships have professional qualifications embedded within them such that the
student achieves 2 diplomas. With Paragon Skills students will become professionally recognised Project
Managers, Leaders, Coaches, Accountants etc… with membership of a professional body.
In conclusion, many employers and employees alike are adjusting their thinking when it comes to
apprenticeships. Students are ditching University, preferring to get their degree debt free with money
in the bank and several years of work experience under their belt. Employers now see apprenticeships
simply as a funding model through which they can afford to have their staff trained, motivated and
mentored in a way that better suits the needs of their organisation.
We hope this article has helped answer any queries you may have, but didn’t know who to ask? For
further details on how Paragon Skills can help you or your team, please contact Alistair Ling via
email@example.com or call him on 07805 669243 (please quote your Dispex ID). paragonskills.co.uk
FREE Dispex Education Training
Don’t forget, every employee you sign up to an apprenticeship with Paragon, will be entitled to a FREE Dispex
Education course, this offer is extended to new apprentices recruited by Paragon. Available courses are as
follows; Training for New Dispensers & Apprentices, Personally Administered Items & VAT, Prescription
Clerk Training or Comprehensive Controlled Drug Training.
If your apprentice is not involved within the Dispensary, then their one free Dispex Education course place
can be gifted to a dispensary colleague. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.