The BTEC QCF apprenticeships in Environmental and Land-based subjects

Thu Nov 07 13:07:02 UTC 2013

Learn more about the Apprenticeships available for the Environmental and Land-based sector

Apprenticeships provide learners with the knowledge, understanding and skills that they need to work in their chosen subject area.

QCF Apprenticeships consist of up to five qualifications or components:

  • the competence-based qualification (the NVQ/work-based qualification)
  • a knowledge component (often called the technical certificate)
  • Employee’s Rights and Responsibilities (ERR)
  • two Functional Skills (usually Maths and English).
    ERR and Functional Skills can be collectively referred to as transferable skills.


The first component reflects the competence-based, and the second the knowledge based, components of the National Occupational Standards (NOS). There are, however, variations to this model; for example, for Animal Care and Horticulture, the technical certificate is ‘embedded’ within the competence component to form a Work-based Diploma, whilst for Local Environmental Services the competence component (in this case a Work-based certificate) and the technical certificate are separate.

Local Environmental Services is a new qualification for Pearson, and largely based around Horticulture and Environmental Conservation units, but learners have to take one cleaning unit within the Work-based Certificate. It is an ideal qualification for anyone who has a job role that involves the maintenance of green spaces, such as municipal grounds or caravan parks. Unlike most qualifications within the sector, Local Environmental Services originates from the ASSET Sector Skills Council (SSC), not LANTRA, and as a result shares a technical certificate with cleaning qualifications. As Work-based Certificates and Diplomas are NVQ qualifications, assessors and verifiers need to be suitably qualified with the relevant assessor and verifier qualifications, along with other Learning Development qualifications that could be useful. These assessor and internal verifier qualifications are available for a much wider range of people than the predecessor Assessor & Verifier Awards. They can be used in any learning and assessing environment and not just the work place.

In addition, Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS) are usually mapped to the qualifications within the Apprenticeship.

An Apprenticeship requires the learner to be employed in an appropriate Environmental or Land-based organisation. This does mean that it can be difficult for potential employers within the voluntary sector to take on apprentices, if they are working as volunteers. One assessor reported that a city farm solved this problem by obtaining sponsorship to enable them to employ an apprentice.

Centres in London and Portsmouth have been working closely with veterinary surgeries to deliver the Animal Care Apprenticeship. The apprentices have been working as assistants to veterinary nurses; others work in pet shops and kennels. Many apprentices have stated that they have chosen the Apprenticeship route as a first step within the industry, with one Animal Care apprentice reporting that it had helped her to obtain a place at University to read veterinary nursing.

It is essential that a centre running the Apprenticeship engages with local employers. Often, employers are unaware of the benefits of employing an apprentice. A range of case studies from successful Apprenticeships may well provide support with this issue, and future updates will provide examples of successful Apprenticeships in the sector.

An Apprenticeship provides learners with the opportunity to be assessed using a variety of creative assessment tools. These might include professional discussion, videos, web blogs and other web-based evidence, alongside more traditional assessment methods, such as assessor’s observations and witness statements.

Further information can be found here:

W.T.Green
Senior Standards Verifier (SSV) for Work-based qualifications within the Environmental and Land-based sector 

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