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    KNOWLEDGE BOOST: Amcal Pharmacy Horsham assistant Paris Barber, left, with pharmacist and owner Carlie Streeter. Picture: DYLAN DE JONG

Opportunity to upskill pharmacy assistants

By Dylan De Jong

Rural and regional Victoria will be the focus of a State Government plan to upskill pharmacy assistants during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Pharmacy assistants across the Wimmera and Mallee can take part in nationally accredited training free of charge to ensure their skills are up to date, as part of a $475,000 State Government injection.

Amcal Pharmacy Horsham assistant Paris Barber is among 50 assistants across the state who will be funded to complete a certificate III or IV in community pharmacy and community pharmacy dispensary. 

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“I started work at 15 as a causal and went full-time when I finished school,” Ms Barber said. 

“In terms of broadening my knowledge within the pharmacy community, this will help me provide the best advice for our customers.”   

Pharmacist and owner Carlie Streeter said the ability to upskill assistants was particularly crucial during the pandemic. 

“It’s really important our pharmacy assistants are up to date with their knowledge so they can provide up-to-date advice for our customers, particularly in challenging times like this while we’re on the frontline in the healthcare sector,” she said. 

“It can be difficult accessing training in the country too, so anything that makes it easier is always appreciated.” 

Research has shown the training is in demand in Grampians, Gippsland, Hume and Loddon-Mallee regions.

There are about 90 regional communities in Victoria with only one pharmacy. 

Training, Skills and Higher Education minister Gayle Tierney said the funding would have an emphasis on people working in isolated regional and rural pharmacies.

She said the training would help the assistants to continue providing their ‘crucial services’ and the best advice to customers. 

“Community pharmacies are more essential than ever, particularly in regional and rural areas, and this will help ensure their staff have the latest skills they need to continue to serve those communities during the pandemic,” she said. 

“We’re investing in this training to make sure all Victorians, regardless of where they live, have access to expert advice from pharmacy workers.”

Assistants at Nhill, Horsham and Ararat will also benefit from the State Government funding.

The entire October 7, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!