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Advanced Apprenticeship (No Pharmacist) Programme

The Advanced Apprenticeship Programme allows the learner to be able to deal with routine queries and enables the senior dispenser to be involved in professional discussions with the healthcare team regarding more complex issues. Apprentices and employers benefit together, with additional course components and incentives.

Course Details
Programme Course Cost
Contact us for current employer contributions
Course Category
24-34 Months

The last date on which we will accept nominations or applications for the apprenticeship framework will be the 31st January 2020. You may instead be interested in the brand new Pharmacy Technician (Integrated) apprenticeship standard. Our Pharmacy Technician (Integrated) programme is the only apprenticeship currently on the market which meets the new standards for pharmacy technicians.

Levy-Paying Employers

Buttercups Training continues to have capacity for apprenticeship starts for all age groups (16+). Please contact us to discuss how you can make the best use of your levy pot.

Non-Levy-Paying (SME) Employers

The Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has announced that funding for up to 5000 apprenticeship starts per month for SMEs will be made available from January 2020 to March 2020. This funding will cover all apprenticeships across the whole of England, and will likely be allocated on a first come first served basis.


We want pharmacy to benefit from this funding as much as possible, and for our SME customers to be able to make the most of the apprenticeship programme after a protracted break from apprenticeship availability. The early bird will catch the worm!


Please rest assured that we are dedicated in our work to promote and encourage apprenticeships as an option for training. We are keeping up to date with the latest developments from the ESFA and will keep up to date on the situation following March 2020, ideally whether a contract allocation is provided to enable us to continue to be able to offer apprenticeships to small and medium sized employers or whether the current system available from January 2020 to March 2020 is extended.


What to do if you want to benefit from government funded apprenticeships

Click here for further information, and email


As always, we are able to offer non-funded programmes for the training needs of any learners. The following non-funded options are available for non-levy paying employers:


Apprenticeship programme Non-funded alternative 1 Non-funded alternative 2
Level 2 Pharmacy Services Assistant Standard Dispensing Assistant Course (GPhC accredited and equivalent to level two) Level 2 NVQ Diploma in Pharmacy Service Skills OR Level 2 NVQ Certificate in Pharmacy Service Skills (No GPhC Registrant Supervision)
Pharmacy Technician (Integrated) Pharmacy Technician Training Programme Dispenser Development Programme for Dispensing Doctors (appropriate for dispensing doctors practices, or dispensaries with no pharmacist or pharmacy technician on site)

Further information on these alternatives including costs and durations, can be accessed via the above links.

The Advanced Apprenticeship Programme consists of the BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Pharmaceutical Science, Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Pharmacy Service Skills, Functional Skills Level 2 in Maths and English, and Employee Rights and Responsibilities Workbook. Buttercups Training has direct contracts with the Education and Skills Funding Agency to access funding for the Apprenticeship in Pharmacy programmes. Learners enrolled onto the Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship programme who work 30 hours per week or more must be on programme for a minimum of 18 months before their completion of the programme. For part time learners, the minimum duration must be extended as per the calculations in the Education and Skills Funding Agency funding rules. Upon enrolment, personalised Delivery Plans are issued which accommodate the minimum duration requirements for the programme.

This programme is designed to be completed without pharmacist supervision and the learner cannot register as a pharmacy technician without amassing 14 hours/week supervision, under a registered pharmacist or pharmacy technician, for the two-year duration of the course. Please contact us using the 'ask a question' form for further information regarding registering as a pharmacy technician. If there is no pharmacist or registered technician within the workplace to act as the Expert Witness for the programme, the required Expert Witness observations for the Level 3 Diploma in Pharmacy Service Skills (NVQ) will be covered through one or more visits by a Buttercups Training assessor.

To be eligible for Apprenticeship funding, the following criteria must be met:

  • Learners must live and work in England and have been a resident in the EU for a minimum of 3 years
  • Learners cannot be in full time education and must be aged 16 years old or above
  • Learners must hold a National Insurance Number
  • Learners must hold a contract of employment and be working a minimum of 21 contracted hours per week
  • Learners cannot be enrolled onto another government funded programme
  • Learners cannot hold a Level 4 qualification or above, unless the qualification is "materially different" from the Apprenticeship in Pharmacy framework. Any queries in relation to prior qualifications and their content in relation to the Apprenticeship programme will be passed to our Chief Pharmacist
  • At least 20% off the job training must be delivered, in relation to the apprentice's contracted working hours. Off the job training includes online learning, practical training through shadowing and mentoring, alongside learning support and time spent writing assessments and assignments. Buttercups Training will work with the employer to agree a training plan prior to enrolment. Please note, time within work for any Functional Skills courses must be allowed in addition to this 20% off the job training for the BTEC and NVQ courses.
  • Learners must be on programme for a minimum of 18 months from their start date with Buttercups Training if they are contracted to work 30 hours or above. For learners who are contracted to work 21-29 hours per week, the minimum duration of the programme will be extended, pro rata.

Enrolment packs for funded programmes must be posted to:

Buttercups Training Limited,
Buttercups House,
Castlebridge Office Village,
Castle Marina Road,
Nottingham NG7 1TN

If you are based within a community pharmacy / hospital, please visit the Advanced Apprenticeship in Pharmacy Programme (AD-APP) page.

Course Features
Full BTEC certificate for the underpinning knowledge, with option for merit or distinction
Functional Skills - developing important Maths and English skills
Regular contact at least every 9-12 weeks for a formal review with adjusted target setting
Programme Content