Upskilling staff more important than ever

Pharmacy is a kaleidoscope of change and 2020 has altered the way training has been delivered at the Guild. 

With pharmacy at the forefront of health emergency and essential services this has meant that staff need to be supported in upskilling and creating employment opportunities as well has developing the confidence and up to date knowledge to work effectively in pharmacy’s constantly changing environment. Pharmacies are an essential healthcare provider which have continued to deliver vital assistance to the community during the bushfire crisis in regional Victoria and again during the ongoing pandemic. 

Guild training provides a holistic approach to training, support and advice to community pharmacy and their staff. Training offers a platform for staff to provide professional services for the health and wellbeing of the community resulting in delivering a boost to the pharmacy.

Understandably, many pharmacies have had little or no time to support their staff in meeting their training needs as their priority to date during 2020 is the community at large. When COVID hit, regional and rural pharmacies were still recovering from the bushfires. As a member service, Guild Training’s focus has been supporting pharmacy through the challenges of this time and making alterations in the way training is delivered. 

Guild Training is very aware of the emotional and physical toll the pandemic has taken on pharmacy staff dealing with their own fear and anxiety and that of the community. We have granted requests of suspensions and extensions, listened and adapted to flexible working hours by setting up after hours assessments. 

Virtual platforms have been introduced to replace face to face visits and end dates extended to give staff more time to complete their workbooks. These changes are supported via care calls to ensure that staff and pharmacists can discuss their training options at any time so we can customise the training to meet the needs of the business. 

Guild Training recently received funding to deliver training focussed at regional and rural pharmacies for Certificate III and Certificate IV in Community Pharmacy, and the Certificate IV in Community Pharmacy Dispensary. This funding will allow more access to rural pharmacy via supporting students across vast distances by increased face to face visits and growing training, employment and career pathways in this sector. It will also help us deliver crucial training and support the ongoing needs of the industry. Community pharmacies are more essential than ever, particularly in regional and rural areas, and we will work to ensure your staff have the latest skills they need to continue to serve those communities during the pandemic and beyond.

Kyisha Freeman, Dispensary Technician, Yarra Junction Pharmacy

Kyisha undertook the Cert III and Cert IV in Community Pharmacy with the Guild. 

Training with the Guild has given me a great perspective into the various aspects of community pharmacy. It has helped me fully grasp the value of customer service and how I can help improve staff management. Michelle Skinner has been my trainer since I first started training with the Guild, she has been exceptionally helpful and a great Mentor. The past year has been flat out in pharmacy as you all would know. 

The skills that I learnt from the course have helped me manage some of the issues that we faced at the pharmacy. Infection Control unit from Cert III was very relevant given the pandemic. It helped me implement and manage some of the changes in store. I have also recently done a unit on Work Health and Safety which has helped me look at the health and safety aspect of the staff in our pharmacy.

My study time has been disrupted due to the pandemic, but the Guild have been very helpful. They have allowed unit extensions and provided additional support which has taken away a lot of my stress. I miss not seeing Michelle face to face, but we now do our assessments over the phone and she calls me frequently in between to ensure I’m on the right track. Overall training with the Guild has been challenging but enjoyable at the same time. It has helped me grow so much in my workplace from a Pharmacy Assistant to a Dispensary Technician.

Emma Gash, Pharmacy Assistant, Neilson’s Pharmacy Yarram

Emma was part of the LaTrobe Valley Traineeship Pilot Program and is currently enrolled in Cert III in Community Pharmacy with the Guild.

I started working at Neilson’s pharmacy in March, right about when COVID hit and I felt fortunate to have a job. The Training helped me during this time as the first few units that I learnt were on prescriptions and I could help the other staff in the dispensary at an extremely busy time for the pharmacy. I enjoy working in the pharmacy, learning about the products and sharing my knowledge with the customers trying to assist them. I am grateful to the Pilot Program and the Guild that helped me discover what I enjoy doing.

Kay Neilson, Pharmacy Owner, Neilson’s Pharmacy

It has been a very exciting journey for us. My husband Geoff has a passion for pharmacy, and I have a passion for training – the Guild is the link that brings it all together for us! 

It has happened with us twice that we have advertised for a position and have had two applicants that we could not turn back – so we created a second position just to have them join our pharmacy. It is so exciting to see passion in young people! Our young trainees have moved on to Nursing and other Allied Health professions and as much as I feel sad to let them go it helps us provide that opportunity to other trainees in the area. The Guild makes it all possible by developing units and timelines that are achievable. It builds confidence in the students and gives them the platform to grow further.