Growing opportunities for pharmacy graduates

Professor Satya Sarker heads the UK’s second oldest pharmacy school and has this week been elected to the national Pharmacy Schools Council Executive. We spoke to him about the role and about attracting students to the ‘noble profession’ of pharmacy.


Many congratulations Satya on being chosen to sit on this national body representing pharmacy education. What does this mean for you?

“I am absolutely delighted to become an elected member of the Pharmacy Schools Council (PhSC) Executive. As the Director of the School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, I have been an ordinary member since 2013, but being an Executive Member will allow me to actively contribute to the strategy and policy development of PhSC in relation to pharmacy education in the UK.  


Tell us a little about its’ work and what you hope to bring to the table.

PhSC is a council of UK Pharmacy Heads of School, and it works closely with various pharmacy-related stakeholders and organizations, such as the General Pharmacy Council, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, and the British Pharmaceutical Students’ Association. Our main objective is to engage with all stakeholders and convey a unified view of the UK Schools of Pharmacy on various matters contributing to education and practice. I’m hoping to bring to the role more than 20 years of experience as a lecturer, Professor of Pharmacy, and Director.


LJMU has a long tradition in pharmacy education, how would you sum up the School’s current contribution to the training of pharmacists in the region/Uk and what can you tell us about future plans?

Yes, we are proud to be the second oldest pharmacy education provided in the UK (just after UCL) and have been educating high-quality pharmacists since 1849.  The employability of our graduates is one of the best (~100%), and all graduates have been contributing to pharmacy provision in the community and the NHS in this region and nationally. Our Pharmacy education provision has been evolving continually to meet the changing demands of the UK healthcare provisions. In particular, in the last decade or so, we have integrated and embedded science elements within the practice of pharmacy, and have been developing a new MPharm curriculum which is underpinned by science but fully clinical practice-orientated.  We aim to provide more clinical placements throughout the curriculum delivery, and at the same time will provide one of the best and enhanced in-house training in clinical pharmacy.


Putting students at the heart is very much a theme for LJMU in 2022, how important is this as a priority for your School?

The School has consistently been delivering all LJMU priorities and KPIs over the years. ‘Putting students at the heart' is one of the key drivers of all our activities in the School, and we have been working closely with the students to deliver an enhanced student experience. Pharmacy students are one of the most engaged groups of students, and as a School, through various student-centered activities, we ensure that the level of engagement remains high so that they can get the best level of learning experience blended with professional practice.  


Pharmacy is obviously something you are very passionate about; what is your personal ‘sales-pitch’ to young people thinking about a career in pharmacy?

Yes, I am passionate about the profession and education. A career in pharmacy has always been considered a noble profession globally, as it provides the opportunity to contribute to the health and well-being of the public, and to serve the nation to deliver a world-class healthcare system. With the changing nature of health service delivery in the UK, especially during and after the pandemic, the scope of a pharmacist’s role is ever-broadening, which means that employment opportunities for pharmacists will also be expanding.  So, my ‘sales-pitch’ to young people is: Become a pharmacist, and serve the nation.





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