Early Years Educator

Level 3 Apprenticeship


This engaging Level 3 apprenticeship develops the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to work in a childcare setting. Apprentices will also learn valuable techniques and methods to support them in taking responsibility for leading childcare provision.

Who is it suitable for:

  • Nursery Worker/Supervisors
  • Nursery Nurses
  • Nursery Teaching Assistants
  • Early Years Workers/Assistants
  • Nursery Practitioners
  • Classroom Assistants

Key information

Qualification level: 3

Duration: 18 months

Qualifications achieved: Early Years Educator Apprenticeship Standard

NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Workforce (Early Years Educator)

Functional skills: Level 2 in maths and English, unless certificates that match the exemption criteria (e.g. GCSE Grade 4-9, A-C or equivalent) can be shown

Contact our apprenticeship team today...


Whilst no previous qualifications are needed, apprenticeships are funded through the Government and as such have eligibility requirements to enable funding to be accessed. 

Apprentices must:

  • Be aged 16 or over.
  • Hold a permanent contract of employment prior to starting their apprenticeship.
  • Not be in any other form of education or study.
  • Have been resident in the EEA (European Economic Area) for the past 3 years and have proof of this.
  • Have a National Insurance number.


This 18-month apprenticeship costs £6,000 and can be funded through the Apprenticeship Levy Fund or a 5% contribution which is only £300.

More details on the Apprenticeship Levy Fund can be found on the Government website here.

The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in April 2017 and applies to employers who have an annual pay bill of over £3 million. Around 2% of employers fall in scope to pay the levy and it’s charged at a rate of 0.5% of an employer’s pay bill. Each employer receives an annual allowance of £15,000 to offset against their levy payment and the levy is collected via the PAYE system on a monthly basis and paid into an online account.

The levy is administered through the Apprenticeship Service (AS) system which includes an online digital interface where employers can spend their levy with a registered apprenticeship provider of their choice. Employers have two years from when funds enter their account to spend those same funds before they expire. The levy can only be spent on the costs of the apprenticeship programme, not on salaries.

If you do not need to pay the Apprenticeship Levy

Smaller employers with an annual pay bill of under £3 million are required to pay a contribution towards the cost of the apprenticeship training programme. Upon enrolment of the apprentice, you will need to pay 5% towards the cost of training of your apprentice. The total cost will vary dependent on the funding band the apprenticeship programme is within. For this you will need to:

  • agree a payment schedule with the training organisation
  • pay them directly for the training

The government will pay the rest (95%) up to the funding band maximum. They’ll pay it directly to the training organisation.

There are some exemptions to the 5% contribution:

  • If you have 50 or fewer employees, the apprenticeship is fully funded by the government if the apprentice is aged 16-18 or the apprentice is 19-24 and has previously been in care or has a Local Authority Education and Health Care Plan.
  • Levy-paying employers can utilise their levy pot to pay for your apprentice programme using a levy transfer scheme. In these instances, you will not be required to pay the contributions.

Employer incentive
An employer incentive payment of £1,000 is available for new apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.

Further information:

Apprentices are assigned a qualified and dedicated Trainer Assessor (and Functional Skills Tutor if required) to provide them with the help and support needed. The apprenticeship is delivered via a blended learning approach of on and off the job training to ensure they can develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for their role and to support their learning style. This includes:

  • Regular training days and one to one support sessions at our Academy in Newport Pagnell.
  • Observations and discussions with a dedicated Trainer Assessor/mentor to evidence skills within your nursery.
  • Witness statements from colleagues to evidence behaviours.
  • Support with assignment writing to evidence knowledge.
  • One to one functional skills support, if applicable.

Employers will also have the opportunity to incorporate their in-house training programme alongside the apprenticeship to gain maximum value, enhance organisational impact and maximise employee development.


An overview of what will be studied…

Month 1

Induction to the course

Month 2

Health & safety and physical care needs

Month 3

Supporting healthy lifestyles through nutrition and exercise

Month 4

Safeguarding and equality, diversity and inclusion

Month 5

The value of play and enabling environments

Month 6

Observation, planning and partnership working

Month 7

Wellbeing and supporting children who are unwell

Month 8

Personal, social, emotional and physical development

Month 9

Promoting speech, language and communication and developing cognitive skills

Month 10

Professional development

Month 11

Literacy and maths development

Month 12

Transition and children with additional needs

Months 13&14

Getting ready for End Point Assessment

Month 15

Enter Gateway for End Point Assessment

Months 16&17

End Point Assessment

Month 18


Bud: Online Platform

The training plan and communication related to the apprenticeship are managed through an online platform called “Bud.” This platform serves as a central hub for all apprenticeship-related activities.

Ease of Use: Bud is designed to be user-friendly and easy to navigate. This is crucial for both apprentices and employers to ensure that they can access and utilise the platform effectively.

Login Access for Employers: Your employer will be provided with login access to Bud. This feature allows them to monitor and keep track of your progress in real-time. Employers can view your completed tasks, achievements, and any issues or challenges you may be facing.

Progress Tracking: The platform includes features for tracking and documenting your progress. This involves the submission of completed work, assessments, and feedback from supervisors, mentors and the Trainer Assessor. The progress tracking helps in evaluating your development and ensuring that you are meeting the objectives set out in the training plan.

Overall, this approach combines modern technology with a structured training plan to enhance the effectiveness of apprenticeship programmes, making it easier for apprentices and employers to collaborate and monitor progress throughout the apprenticeship journey.

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