Regulatory Affairs Specialist apprenticeship

The skills gap in medicines and device regulatory affairs is leaving organisations short of staff at a time when there is more to do than ever before. TOPRA is supporting the profession to help fill this gap in several ways, including this apprenticeship. 

TOPRA facilitated a multi-stakeholder employer group to design the apprenticeship standard and supporting tools, and TOPRA is a registered training provider.

What is the apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship is a work-based training programme designed around the needs of employers, which can lead to nationally and internationally recognised qualifications.

The training is based on the apprenticeship Standard which sets out the knowledge, skills and behaviours an apprentice needs to develop over the course of the programme. The Regulatory Affairs Specialist Standard was created by professionals working in a variety of organisations covering pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

The apprenticeship programme takes 30 months and provides Masters-level training in regulatory affairs. It requires apprentices to spend 20% of their time on regulatory training, with the other 80% spent working and gaining experience.

Apprentices complete assessments at the end of the apprenticeship to ensure they have developed the knowledge, skills and behaviours that the programme has set out to impart. They will also complete assessments during the training programme to help embed their training and to monitor their progress.

What are the benefits?

1. Fill the skills gaps in your regulatory team 

  • There has never been more demand for skilled regulatory professionals and the gap between demand and supply is increasing. The apprenticeship can be your solution for this.

2. Make the most of your apprenticeship levy budget 

  • Eligible organisations can draw down funding to help train their apprentices

3. Get highly engaged and motivated staff by giving them the opportunity to complete the apprenticeship

4. Fast-track the development of your staff through the most comprehensive training package available

  • Access our highly regarded training courses, developed and delivered by regulatory experts
  • Includes insights directly from regulators
  • Incredible opportunities to network with over 20 different training courses and webinars
  • Apprentices get to hear different viewpoints and understand the practicalities

5. A one-stop shop
We fulfil all elements of the required training and the 20% training requirement. No need to find other training or supplement the programme.

6. We support you and your apprentice through a monitoring process

7. We will guide you through all the paperwork and requirements

Who can benefit from it?

Employers based in England:
Levy-paying organisations in England can use the levy to fund the training of current or new staff. In future, the UK Government plans for non-levy payers (including SMEs) to be able to access 95% of the cost of the training from the government. Funds will be allocated on a first come first served basis once they are available. Contact to join the waiting list.

Employers outside of England: 
The apprenticeship standard and assessment plan is a useful resource to guide the training of new staff to a recognised standard. The training can be accessed by anyone, but governmental support is not available.


Companies – Currently only companies who pay the apprenticeship levy are able to make use of the TOPRA apprenticeship training. The UK government has announced that they plan to make the digital apprenticeship service available to small and medium-sized organisations who do not pay the levy from 2020. This will enable those organisations to access the regulatory affairs training through TOPRA.

Apprentices – In order to be eligible to complete the regulatory affairs apprenticeship with TOPRA, candidates must have a C or above in GCSE English and Maths or the equivalent. They must be resident and working in the UK with at least 50% of their working time spent in England. EEA citizens are eligible for funding for the apprenticeship as long as they have been resident in the EEA for three years on the first day of the apprenticeship. Funding for the full duration of the apprenticeship is guaranteed for EEA citizens accepted for the apprenticeship before 31 July 2021, regardless of whether the UK leaves the EU with a deal or not. Non-EEA citizens can apply for the apprenticeship as long as they have permission to live and work in the UK and have been resident for at least three years.

What does the training package provide?

The TOPRA apprenticeship training provides a full range of courses, starting from one-day Essentials courses which provide an overview of the regulation of medicines or medical devices through to the MSc. Over 20 different training components, including our highly-regarded Introductory courses, CRED courses, Masterclasses and webinars, are covered by the programme. 

There is also an option to include a Postgraduate Diploma or MSc in Regulatory Affairs qualification for successful apprentices. All the required modules are included in the training package. The only additional costs are the enrolment fee, annual registration fee or the dissertation (required for the MSc).

Application deadlines

The deadlines for applying in 2020 are:


  • Spring entry: 3 January
  • Autumn entry: 1 September

Advanced Therapies

  • Spring entry: 3 January
  • Autumn entry: 1 September

Medical Devices

  • 23 April

Frequently Asked Questions

Download TOPRA's Apprenticeship FAQs

Where can you find out more?

You can find the apprenticeship standard and the assessment plan on the Institute for Apprenticeships' website.

Download: Training plan for apprentices working in medicine regulatory affairs 

Download: Training plan for apprentices working in medical device regulatory affairs 

Apprentices working on drug-device combination products can follow either training plan and incorporate specialist training in this area.

See the dates for TOPRA's Essentials and Introductory courses, which mark the start of the apprenticeship training, on our professional development resources calendar 

To talk to us, contact

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