Underkeeper Apprenticeship Level 2 -

Underkeeper Apprenticeship Level 2

Course Details

  • Department

    Land and Wildlife
  • Qualification

    Level 2
  • Length

    1 Year
  • Location(s)


Course at a glance

An apprenticeship is a job with training. The job must have a productive purpose and should provide the apprentice with the opportunity to embed and consolidate the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need for their immediate job and future career.

Entry Requirements


Apprentices should have Level 2 Maths and English, equivalent to GCSE Grade 4 (old GCSE Grade C) or above. Where apprentices do not hold these qualifications they must demonstrate the ability to achieve these.

Cost for students aged Under 19


For students over the age of 19 please contact us

Course summary

Game keeping is a traditional profession created to protect game species for Royal hunting forests. Today’s gamekeepers play a critical role in species and habitat conservation as they look after the woods, hedgerows and fields in which the game birds and animals live. The result of this work is that many other species of wild birds and animals benefit from the maintained habitats, ensuring a balanced environment with plentiful wildlife.

Many gamekeepers also rear pheasants and partridges by hand for release into the countryside to supplement wild stocks. This rearing is carried out every spring, with the birds being released carefully into the wild during July and August.

The broad purpose of this occupation is to participate in habitat management, pest and predator control and animal husbandry in support of a shooting enterprise. An underkeeper will assist on shoot days and will be expected to undertake routine estate maintenance. In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with a variety of organisations and individuals, including estate managers, senior gamekeepers, police/other statutory bodies, paying guests, other land users and the general public.

Underkeepers’ work under some challenging conditions and can be expected to work some unsociable hours and will be outdoors in all weathers. They need to follow instructions precisely from the head keeper or estate manager to help deliver an estate’s management plan, but frequently operate alone and need to rely on their own initiative and adaptability.

This apprenticeship is the starting point for those wishing to work directly in the game industry. Progression within the industry is through gaining experience to enable moving into a Headkeeper role.

Key Information

Through your daily work with your employer and your training sessions with the college, you will learn the requirements of being an underkeeper including:

  • Maintaining healthy gamebird populations through the appropriate use of medications, feeding wild birds, care of laying birds, hatching eggs, rearing game, recognise and responding common diseases and releasing game.
  • Using a variety of integrated methods to control pests and predators of game, including the use of firearms, traps and pesticides.
  • Participating in the running of a shoot day; ensuring all equipment is ready to use, help with briefing beaters/pickers, welcome guests, assist with the beating line for drives, prepare game for the chiller and prepare for the next day.
  • Correctly caring for gundogs.
  • Using a range of equipment including ATVs, tractors, chainsaws, strimmers and brushcutters.
  • Identifying and felling trees that require management due to disease, to provide conservation benefits and provide timber.
  • Using firearms safely and comply with all legal requirements.
  • Creating and maintaining healthy habitats by undertaking conservation management that is appropriate to the landscape to ensure sustainable and thriving wildlife and habitats.
  • Developing a basic understanding of the effect of deer on the surrounding landscape and appropriate methods of control.
  • Understanding the ambassadorial role of a gamekeeper and demonstrating this through effective interactions with the wider public.


You will also have to achieve the following qualifications:

  • Level 2 Award in Wild Game Hygiene
  • Level 2 Award in Pesticide Application
  • Level 2 Award in Rat Control for Gamekeepers

On successful completion of the training period, you will move through End Point Assessment Gateway and be in a position to undertake the assessments required in order to achieve your apprenticeship.

The End Point Assessment will only start once the employer is satisfied that you are consistently working at or above the level set out in the occupational standard, the pre-requisite gateway requirements have been met and that they can be evidenced to an End Point Assessment Organisation.

The End Point Assessor will be appointed by the EPAO and will be entirely independent to the college.

For this apprenticeship the End Point Assessment will include:

  • Multiple choice exam, usually taken at college
  • Practical assessment of tasks in your workplace
  • Professional discussion in your workplace

Your apprenticeship will be graded Fail, Pass or Distinction.



The duration of the apprenticeship is based on a skills analysis and the development opportunities within the business.

The maximum duration for this apprenticeship training period is 18 months, with up to a further 4 months to undertake the End Point Assessment.


This could be reduced where an apprentice holds previous experience.

Individual employers will set their own selection criteria.

Apprentices should have or be able to complete Level 1 Maths and English, equivalent to GCSE Grade 2 (old GCSE Grade E) or above, plus suitable and relevant employment.




Apprentices will be expected to work towards Level 2 Maths and English where this has not been achieved.

Employers pay for apprenticeship training, where fees are applicable. We will discuss this with your employer when we complete a set-up with them.

The fees charged for the apprenticeship include any awarding body registration costs, all on-programme teaching, assessment and support delivered by the college, support materials, access to college facilities such as the Learning Resource Centre, Student Moodle, and access to wider college student support services where required.


Employers must pay apprentices at least the minimum rate set out by current National Minimum Wage Legislation. This includes payment for all off-job learning and any associated costs such as travel and accommodation.

Information about the National Minimum Wage can be found at:


Employer involvement

Your employer must enable you to spend a minimum of 20% of your usual work hours undertaking off-job learning. This is defined as learning which is undertaken outside of the normal day-to-day working environment and leads towards the achievement of the apprenticeship. This can include training that is delivered at your normal place of work but must not be delivered as part of your normal working duties, and must be directly relevant to the apprenticeship standard.

Off-job learning could include the following:

– Teaching of theory such as lectures, role playing, simulation exercises, online learning or manufacturer training

– Practical training such as shadowing experienced staff or mentoring, industry visits and attendance at competitions

– Study support and time spent writing assessments/assignments

Your employer must commit to supporting you in the workplace, participating in progress review meetings, providing use of ICT facilities so you can access your e-portfolio and agreeing/ensuring your readiness for the End Point Assessment. They may be required to provide further supporting evidence/endorsements about your performance, which form part of the End Point Assessment.

Further details of the End Point Assessment will be made available to you during your induction.

College input

We will support you through regular Apprenticeship Progress Review meetings with you and your manager, provide well planned vocational training and theory delivery by block release model and support your theory learning in the workplace with a range of learning materials.

This programme is delivered at our York Campus on Block-release.

How to apply

Applications should be made using the college application form or via the college website.

This form can be found at: https://www.askham-bryan.ac.uk/application/register.

Upon receipt of your application you will have an interview with the Course Manager.

Further information

Further information is available on:


Or, for more information, contact the Apprenticeship Admin team on:


  • York Campus

    York is one of the College's two residential campuses and is located just four miles from York city centre. At York we offer a full range of subject areas and levels including Apprenticeships, Level 1-3 Diplomas, Foundation, Top Up and BSc Honours Degrees.

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