Does anyone work in a pharmacy? Help!

(60 Posts)
wouldloveajob Tue 12-Jan-21 15:55:16

I'd have thought there was a strong demand for pharmacy trainees since there are hundreds/thousands of pharmacies in every county. I'm desperate to start a career in pharmacy, and work my way up to NVQ 2, then 3.

I've been trying for 9 months now. Have only seen a handful of trainee roles in my area and haven't even received a response from my applications. I have a very good standard of education, lots of retail & customer service experience and genuinely believe I'd do very well at the role.

What does it take to get a foot through the door? If you work in one please could you share how you got started? Do they only want youngsters, as its minimum wage? I'm mid thirties.

OP’s posts: |
GlobeUs Tue 12-Jan-21 16:15:43

I would actually go and follow up the applications in person if you are able to? For a role like this I think it's a wise move to go in and introduce yourself, ask about the progress of the applications and let them get to know you a bit.

MaddieElla Tue 12-Jan-21 16:17:41

Do you mean as a dispenser?

wouldloveajob Tue 12-Jan-21 16:19:51

GlobeUs

I would actually go and follow up the applications in person if you are able to? For a role like this I think it's a wise move to go in and introduce yourself, ask about the progress of the applications and let them get to know you a bit.


Everything is online now - at head offices, for example Lloyd's Pharmacy (McKessons), Well Pharmacy, Boots. The pharmacist in the store will take no part in the initial stages.

Pre Covid I would have walked in, handed a CV in, introduced myself to staff etc. I have a personable personality so that has got me plenty of jobs in the past. But now? I can't imagine that would be a good idea sad

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wouldloveajob Tue 12-Jan-21 16:20:35

MaddieElla

Do you mean as a dispenser?


Yes smile

Trainee Dispenser roles, sometimes referred to as a Pharmacy Assistant

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MaddieElla Tue 12-Jan-21 16:23:38

Ah okay. My DD got her job from walking into a community pharmacy and asking. They had just happened to have someone leave for Uni and had an opening. She did her training on the job.

It's a small but busy pharmacy connected to a doctors surgery, not a big one like Boots etc. Maybe why she was lucky to get a foot in the door. Maybe try walking into the smaller pharmacies?

Glitterandunicorns Tue 12-Jan-21 16:25:12

@wouldloveajob I agree with you that going anywhere in person to follow up applications won't get you anywhere.
Not only are things often done in a centralised way these days, even if a position was with an individual pharmacy, no matter how personable you were, I would not appreciate being contacted in person at a time which may not be convenient and during a pandemic too.

You could always email them or phone the head office and ask for feedback on your application though. The worst they can do is say that they don't do that.

Do they usually require certain qualifications for such a post? You mention studying for NVQ2 after obtaining a trainee post. Is that a qualification you can work towards independently, or do you need to be in a related occupation?

Try not to be downhearted; obtaining any employment at all at the moment is incredibly difficult and competition is fierce. I understand that it is frustrating when you don't receive any responses to applications though.

Best of luck!

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Baboutheocelot Tue 12-Jan-21 16:25:43

What about hospital dispenser jobs?

wouldloveajob Tue 12-Jan-21 16:26:10

MaddieElla

Ah okay. My DD got her job from walking into a community pharmacy and asking. They had just happened to have someone leave for Uni and had an opening. She did her training on the job.

It's a small but busy pharmacy connected to a doctors surgery, not a big one like Boots etc. Maybe why she was lucky to get a foot in the door. Maybe try walking into the smaller pharmacies?


Thanks for the advice. Yes, I'll try the independents now.

Does she enjoy it? Has it been a good job for her?

OP’s posts: |
MaddieElla Tue 12-Jan-21 16:26:45

Although she started when she was 16 and they knew she would (hopefully this September) be going off to Uni, and still trained her for counter assistant first. But because of her age and her low pay that's maybe why they wanted her.

You'd think they'd want to snap someone up who wanted to be trained up to stay in the role. Keep trying. smile

wouldloveajob Tue 12-Jan-21 16:28:38

Glitterandunicorns

*@wouldloveajob* I agree with you that going anywhere in person to follow up applications won't get you anywhere.
Not only are things often done in a centralised way these days, even if a position was with an individual pharmacy, no matter how personable you were, I would not appreciate being contacted in person at a time which may not be convenient and during a pandemic too.

You could always email them or phone the head office and ask for feedback on your application though. The worst they can do is say that they don't do that.

Do they usually require certain qualifications for such a post? You mention studying for NVQ2 after obtaining a trainee post. Is that a qualification you can work towards independently, or do you need to be in a related occupation?

Try not to be downhearted; obtaining any employment at all at the moment is incredibly difficult and competition is fierce. I understand that it is frustrating when you don't receive any responses to applications though.

Best of luck!


Thanks for the sympathy. Yes, it's completely demoralising when you know yourself to be a competent person, and want to work hard and get stuck in.

Good suggestion, but no, the NVQ is only open to people that actually work within a pharmacy.

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Suzi888 Tue 12-Jan-21 16:29:02

I applied years ago when a Boots opened in my local area. I only wanted to work on the checkout (it was a weekend job, whilst I was studying and mostly hungover). I was told I had to work on the Pharmacy, which also meant some studying. A few girls I started with went on to be dispensers.

The Pharmacist in a Boots store is also the manager, I’d apply for ANY job in store then let them know you want to work on the pharmacy counter. The wage is initially the same for a healthcare assistant as it is for the retail assistants.

wouldloveajob Tue 12-Jan-21 16:29:24

Baboutheocelot

What about hospital dispenser jobs?


I'm keeping an eye on nhs jobs but nothing has come up yet.

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MaddieElla Tue 12-Jan-21 16:30:44

She has loved it. She wanted to apply to medicine but it actually made her apply to Mpharm as well as she loves the job so much.

She started just before Covid kicked off so she really went in head first and she's had a lot of abuse from the public. But it hasn't put her off and she'd be happy to do pharmacy as a career if she gets no offers for medicine.

wouldloveajob Tue 12-Jan-21 16:33:16

MaddieElla

She has loved it. She wanted to apply to medicine but it actually made her apply to Mpharm as well as she loves the job so much.

She started just before Covid kicked off so she really went in head first and she's had a lot of abuse from the public. But it hasn't put her off and she'd be happy to do pharmacy as a career if she gets no offers for medicine.


Oh that's really interesting. Pharmacy is apparently much more family friendly if she plans to have children. Still really well paid too. Good luck to her!!

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Bashitcrazy Tue 12-Jan-21 16:34:25

I would definitely start with the independents rather than the big multiples if your wanting to work in community pharmacy.
You will usually actually get to speak to the actual owner, rather than a head office.

wouldloveajob Tue 12-Jan-21 16:35:05

Suzi888

I applied years ago when a Boots opened in my local area. I only wanted to work on the checkout (it was a weekend job, whilst I was studying and mostly hungover). I was told I had to work on the Pharmacy, which also meant some studying. A few girls I started with went on to be dispensers.

The Pharmacist in a Boots store is also the manager, I’d apply for ANY job in store then let them know you want to work on the pharmacy counter. The wage is initially the same for a healthcare assistant as it is for the retail assistants.


Interesting!! I heard this about Boots, so yes I'm keeping my eye out and would definitely take one of their retail roles if I saw one. Haven't seen one come up whole time I've been looking. I guess there's less job movement due to Covid.

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MaddieElla Tue 12-Jan-21 16:35:27

Thank you, and you. If you're in Lincolnshire you can have her job when she leaves grin

They get frustrated when dispensers come and go so would be delighted to have someone like you

wouldloveajob Tue 12-Jan-21 16:36:39

MaddieElla

Thank you, and you. If you're in Lincolnshire you can have her job when she leaves grin

They get frustrated when dispensers come and go so would be delighted to have someone like you


I wish I was but no! Hopefully something will come along soon smile

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Baboutheocelot Tue 12-Jan-21 16:37:09

Boots are cutting 4000 jobs so that probably why. They said that pharmacy roles won’t be affected to I imagine that any openings are being snapped up by current staff as they want a job that’s safe.

DeathMetalMum Tue 12-Jan-21 16:37:15

Have you thought about an apprenticeship route? You can either go via Level 2 or even a level 3 technician via the apprenticeship option. If it's a level 3 course it will normally be a two year long apprenticeship. The NHS runs two year apprenticeships for a pharmacy technician fairly regularly.

I'd also suggest looking for independents rather than boots or rowlands etc. I found the job posting for my pharmacy job on the jobcentre website rather than one of the larger job sites.

wouldloveajob Tue 12-Jan-21 16:49:36

DeathMetalMum

Have you thought about an apprenticeship route? You can either go via Level 2 or even a level 3 technician via the apprenticeship option. If it's a level 3 course it will normally be a two year long apprenticeship. The NHS runs two year apprenticeships for a pharmacy technician fairly regularly.

I'd also suggest looking for independents rather than boots or rowlands etc. I found the job posting for my pharmacy job on the jobcentre website rather than one of the larger job sites.


Thanks for you response. Really interesting! I'll look at the job centre site.

I had thought about an apprenticeship, but not sure I could justify such a low pay, full time, for so long. Maybe this is my problem. I'd prefer 18-30 hours p/week. I have to pay wrap around childcare and holiday clubs for 3 kids, which is why I'd discounted apprenticeships. I also have a degree and lots specify you can't apply if you have a degree.

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wouldloveajob Tue 12-Jan-21 16:50:36

Baboutheocelot

Boots are cutting 4000 jobs so that probably why. They said that pharmacy roles won’t be affected to I imagine that any openings are being snapped up by current staff as they want a job that’s safe.


Makes perfect sense.

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Chlobo89 Tue 12-Jan-21 18:58:56

What area are you in? There’s trainee jobs going in my store but in general in the company they are cutting back on staff even in the pharmacy just by moving staff around to different stores instead of hiring new staff.

I started off by working as a customer assistant and now have my nvq 3 but it’s not a nice job to be honest you get constant abuse from the public, it’s busy and stressfull, everyone wants everything instantly as they have no understanding of the dispensing process and the pay is not much more than minimum wage.

choosername1234 Tue 12-Jan-21 19:51:46

Most pharmacy jobs are within hospitals, have you looked at NHS jobs website?

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