Be inspired to follow a truly rewarding career

The Keeper and Aquarist apprenticeship offers people the opportunity to pursue a career looking after a wide range of animals or freshwater and marine life, whilst also gaining the skills and knowledge needed to help make a difference to the research and conservation of them.


“This apprenticeship is an amazing opportunity to gain hands on experience and knowledge in the zoo and aquarium industries. Having the chance to work with a range of different animals, makes it an exciting and rewarding career choice.”

Grace Goddard – Keeper and Aquarist Specialist, Haddon Training

To find out more about what the qualification involves click below.


  • How the apprenticeship works

    Throughout the qualification, every apprentice will learn the core apprenticeship components, taking part in monthly sessions with an assigned Trainer Coach, spending time learning and enhancing skills, knowledge and behaviours whilst at work.

    Time will also be given by employers to enable us to support and develop any required areas of maths and English with their apprentice, in preparation for functional skills qualifications, if needed.

    An end point assessment (EPA) then decides the final grade for the overall apprenticeship.

    The EPA consists of a knowledge test, observation at work and a professional discussion. These are all designed to prove competence in the workplace and all our learners are fully supported in their preparation for this.

    All our Animal Care Trainer Coaches are experts in this industry and will be on hand to support throughout the apprenticeship. They will check knowledge and understanding through a variety of methods including assignments, workbooks, tailored resources, and observations, before agreeing with the apprentice and employer that they are ready for end point assessment.

  • Employment rights

    We take pride in ensuring that all our learners are correctly looked after under employment legislation. All our employers must ensure that they adhere to the following:

    • Duration – Every apprentice’s contract of employment must last at least the duration of their apprenticeship, up to and including the end point assessment.
    • Days – Under 18-year-olds must have two consecutive days off every week. Over 18-year-olds must have one day off per week or two days off per fortnight.
    • Hours – Under 18-year-olds cannot work more than 40 hours per week. Over 18-year-olds cannot work more than 48 hours per week.
    • Rate of pay – Apprentices must be paid at least the government minimum for apprentices. This changes in their second year if they are 19 years or older.
    • Pay Date – Apprentices must be paid through the PAYE system and know when and how they are being paid, with receipt of regular payslips.
    • Time-Off – An apprentice’s contract must include details of annual leave, sick pay, maternity/paternity and other statutory requirements.
  • Employer commitment

    All employers need to be available from the very start of the apprenticeship to support their employee and commit to their training. We require them to be present at enrolment as we create the apprenticeship plan, as well as at our regular visits where the plan will be reviewed and adapted.

    Apprentices must be given time during work hours for ‘off the job’ training. This covers 20% of the overall apprenticeship duration to develop the skills, knowledge and behaviours they require to complete. It can include additional practical lessons, training with a Trainer Coach, theory work, or new learning with an experienced colleague and equates to around eight hours a week.

    Extra time during working hours must be allowed for maths and/or English support to enable apprentices to complete this additional work with their Trainer Coach.

    Alongside the employment rights that are compulsory for all apprentices, health and safety, safeguarding and other applicable policies must also be adhered to by everyone involved.

  • Entry requirements

    To apply for this apprenticeship, applicants will;

    • Need to be of school leaver age with a passion for this industry.
    • Have a strong work ethic and show respect and empathy for both people and animals.
    • Be punctual, reliable, trustworthy and diligent and prepared to work irregular hours, in all weathers.
    • Value equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.


    As part of this apprenticeship, learners will also be supported to undertake maths and English Level 2 Functional Skills qualifications if they haven’t already achieved a GCSE grade 4-9, A*-C or a Level 2 Functional Skills qualification. All our learners will also develop their digital skills as part of this course.

    If still in full-time education; school, college, university, on another apprenticeship, or if unsure of suitability just contact our friendly team to discuss.

    Want to apply now? Simply click here and apply online today.

  • Career progression

    After completing the Keeper and Aquarist Level 3 apprenticeship, our learners will have gained substantial practical skills and demonstrable knowledge to enable them to go further in their career.  Choices are wide ranging and could include focusing on an area of specialism, such as marine conservation or continuing in the role where they trained as an apprentice to embed their new skills.

If you have any questions please contact our Keeper and Aquarist Specialist, or enquire here.