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Advanced Apprenticeship – Early Years Educator (Level 3)

This apprenticeship will help you advance your career as an Early Years Educator, planning and supervising child-initiated and adult-led activities which are based around the needs and interests of each individual child.

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Course Summary

Subject Area: Childcare
Location: Offsite
Full Time or Part Time: PT
Level: 3
Number Of Years: 2
Interview Required?: Y
Weeks: 104
Start: Flexible

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Course Information for Students

This apprenticeship provides you with a progression route once you have completed a Level 2 programme. It is also ideal if  you have been working in an early years environment for a considerable amount of time as you may be able to start your studies at Level 3.

You need maths and English qualifications at Level 2 but we can support you with this. You will need to be screened to ensure you are operating at a minimum of Level 1 Functional Skills. 

You should also be contracted for a minimum of 16 hours per week and be keen to progress in an early years career.

  • The expected patterns of children’s development
  • A range of underpinning theories of how children learn and develop
  • The importance of promoting equality and diversity
  • The importance of children’s holistic development, for example speech
  • How to support children’s transitions in life, for example from nursery to school
  • Data protection
  • Safeguarding and child protection
  • How to prevent cross-infection
  • Maths and English at Level 2 (unless exempt)
  • End Point Assessment – external assessments


There is classroom delivery every Tuesday.

You are also expected to commit to self study. 

You need a laptop. 

  • Observations
  • Questioning
  • Products of work and projects
  • Professional discussions

You could progress to Level 4 programmes. 

For more information, contact Derby College Group on 0800 0280289 or

The apprenticeship is free if you are under 18. There is a cost to the employer if you are over 18.

Course Information for Employers

This apprenticeship provides a higher level of study and qualification for the early years sector.

The apprentice will attend the Roundhouse at the College on a Tuesday as part of their working week. This information is documented on the One File account as their off-the-job training.

If not exempt, the apprentice will also attend classes for Level 2 maths and English.

Once they have completed their Diploma and Functional Skills, they will enter the apprenticeship gateway and start preparing for their End Point Assessment. 

They should have a Level 2 Early Years Practitioner qualification unless they have experience: in that case, they may be able to advance straight to Level 3 study. Your assessor will advise.

They also need GCSEs graded C/4 or above. If they do not have these qualifications, we will screen them but they must be operating at a high Level 1. The apprentice will then attend classes to complete their maths and English qualifications.


The employer should provide: 

  • A contract of a minimum of 16 hours
  • Paid time to attend College on a Tuesday
  • Training
  • Support
  • Professional
  • Empathic
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Excellent timekeeping
  • A commitment to pursuing an early years career

Level 3 Early Years Educator 

  • Observations
  • Questioning
  • Projects
  • Professional discussions

Yes – on a Tuesday 

The apprentice will need a laptop. 

They could progress to a Level 4 programme. 


You may already have someone in your organisation or someone who has come to you directly asking for an apprenticeship. However, if you don’t, we have a free recruitment service to help you hire the best candidate for your organisation from our talent pool and we can provide external advertising through social media and the National Apprenticeship Service’s website.

If you are an employer and you would like to know more, please email or call 01332 387421

Career Information

This course could lead to one of these careers...








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DCG Success Stories

Lauren Chorley sat in front of a shelf of books

Lauren Chorley

DCG early years apprentice Lauren couldn’t be in better school.

Derby College helped me get my level 3 apprentice placement at Carlyle Infants and Nursery School in Littleover and I’m so pleased they did.

Read More about Lauren Chorley

Harli-Marie Richards

Harli-Marie Richards

Exploring the rewards of a childcare career

It’s a great job and I love the fact that the children are free to enjoy the outdoor space. Little Explorers is special and I can’t imagine any other nursery quite like ours. I definitely see my longterm career in nursery care – and I applied straight away when a permanent role became available at Little Explorers.

Read More about Harli-Marie Richards

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Course Information Last Updated On: February 15, 2023 2:27 pm