quote HEE facebook linkedin twitter bracketDetail search file-download keyboard-arrow-down keyboard-arrow-right close event-note

You are here

Science Manufacturing Technician (SMT) Pilot

Health Education England (HEE) are looking to work with employers to develop and run a 24-month Science Manufacturing Technician (SMT) Apprenticeship (including the Level 3 Diploma in the Principles of Aseptic Pharmaceuticals Processing) Pilot for 30 apprentices commencing February 2021.

We are working with NHS trust employers to run a Science Manufacturing Technician pilot, for 30 apprentices.

This is a national pilot supporting the implementation of a two-year Science Manufacturing Technician (SMT) apprenticeship training pathway in NHS pharmacy technical services facilities, through provision of enhanced funding support to Trusts.  This Level 3 Apprenticeship will be utilised, as part of a wider specialist technical services career pathway, to develop a new unregistered workforce and is one of the ways of addressing an identified workforce gap.

The cohort of 30 SMT apprentices start March 2021. The pilot will be evaluated, and HEE will disseminate shared learning and best practice of implementation to stakeholders nationally.

There are significant benefits for all, including: 

  • Developing capability of the pharmacy technical services support staff workforce (reduce the workforce skills gap)
  • Addressing key barriers to adoption of this apprenticeship route by NHS technical services employers nationally
  • Contributing to widening participation agenda, apprenticeship levy use, and public sector apprenticeship targets

Enhanced funding allocation pilot

NHS Trusts were invited to submit an Expression of Interest (EoI) to take part in the pilot. The EoIs were then evaluated by an HEE panel and funding was allocated. The funding to support 30 apprentices was allocated across 20 trusts:

London and Kent, Surrey and Sussex

  • Barking, Havering And Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Croydon Health Services NHS Trust
  • East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust
  • King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Midlands and East

  • Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Norfolk And Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust
  • Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust


  • Calderdale And Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust
  • Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
  • The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust


  • Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
  • University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
  • Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

Support for the pilot apprentices

All trainees will have a work-based educational supervisor who will oversee the training programme and practice/clinical supervisors in each rotation. 

Training structure

The SMT Apprenticeship includes the following:

  • Observation with question and answer
  • A professional discussion based on the portfolio of evidence
  • Case study presentation

Education provision

Employers may undertake their own procurement exercise for the apprenticeship provision or utilise the Salisbury 'SMT Apprenticeship (Level 3 Diploma in the Principles of Aseptic Pharmaceuticals Processing) Procurement Framework’. West Suffolk College has been approved as a provider on this framework. ​It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure access to apprenticeship levy funds.

For more information, please contact pharmacyteam@hee.nhs.uk.