Programme Activity Builds - Interpreting Standards and Qualifications


This article will guide you through how to understand and interpret standard and qualifications documents to support you in building an engaging programme for your learners.  The first stage to creating your apprenticeship programme in Bud is to look at the associated standards and qualifications documents and understand how these shape your programme.  

User Roles

  • Programme Contributor
  • Programme Manager 

How to: Interpret Standards and Qualifications

The following instruction provides detail on all the areas you should consider when looking at the standards documents and any associated qualifications you wish to deliver. 


How to Interpret Standards and Qualifications - Written Steps: 

1. Find criteria

All standards criteria can be found on the Institute for Apprenticeships website. Once on the site, navigate to the “Apprenticeship Standards” tab:



You can then type in the apprenticeship standard name to view the criteria:



2. Interpret and group criteria 

The next stage of the process is to interpret the information in the standards document. Unfortunately, one standard document can be very different from the next. For example, below you will see the “Customer Service Practitioner” standard.  The image shows how the standard has been broken down into specific subjects/learning outcomes:


However, if you were to look at a different standard such as “Golf Greenkeeper”, you will see from the image below that it is just a list of criteria with no particular criteria categories or learning outcomes:



The reason this is important to highlight is that the first stage of creating your programme is to group subjects or pieces of criteria together. We’ll continue with the example of the “Customer Service Practitioner” standard. In this standard, you may decide that it’s enough to deliver the separate subject areas as different activities. For example, “knowing your customers” as one separate subject and then “understanding your organisation” as another separate subject.

We would definitely suggest seeing if any subjects could be interlinked and have a cross-over of knowledge. For example, customer service has two subjects titled “your role and responsibility” and “product and service knowledge”. You could argue that knowing your products and services is part of your role and responsibility and hence, it’s worth investigating whether these subjects should be covered together.

The examples we have given so far are specific to the knowledge component of the standard. Once you have decided how/if you will group your subjects in knowledge, it’s worth looking at how these may interact with the skills components of the standard.

We generally suggest that once you have taught your learner a component of knowledge, you then ask them to demonstrate their application i.e. show their “skills”. With this particular example of knowing their role and products and services, you may want to observe them showcasing these skills. You could then look at the specific subject areas in the skills for this standard to see what else might be covered in this observation. In this case, it could be the skill subjects such as “communication”, “interpersonal skills” and “influencing skills”.

Of course, there will be times when skills cross over a number of subjects. For example, the skills of “communication” and “interpersonal skills” would also be linked to the knowledge subject of “customer experience”.

3. Order of learning 

Once you’ve grouped all the knowledge, skills and behaviours subject areas together, it’s now time to consider the order these groups should be delivered in. This will help you structure the order of individual activities later down the line. This is where you need to put yourself in the learner's and employer's shoes. What would the most appropriate order of learning be?

In the case of someone undertaking a Customer Service Practitioner apprenticeship, you would want a learner to know what their role is, know about the organisation they work for, and the systems and processes they use before looking at who their customers are. The order of subject knowledge might be:

  1. Your role and responsibility
  2. Systems and resources
  3. Product and service knowledge
  4. Understanding your organisation
  5. Knowing your customers
  6. Customer experience

There is no right or wrong way to determine the order subjects are delivered as each training provider will have its own unique approach, but we recommend considering the order you as it will help with the flow of your apprenticeship programme.

4. Embedding a qualification 

At this point, it’s time to consider if you are going to be delivering any qualifications as part of this apprenticeship. If yes, continuing with the example of customer service practitioner, a training provider may wish to deliver the Level 2 Diploma for Customer Service Practitioners alongside the apprenticeship. We would suggest that you follow a similar process by looking through the syllabus as you did with the standard.

Firstly, look at all the unit titles. Are there obvious titles that complement the subject areas of the standards? In this particular qualification, there is a unit titled “contribute to a customer-focused experience” which will likely have a cross-over with the standards subject of “customer experience”.

You may find that there are unit titles that don’t naturally complement subject areas. You now have to decide where these new subjects should sit in the order of delivery.

Secondly, consider your approach to optional units. Ideally, you would know what optional units you are going to deliver as part of this apprenticeship programme. This will allow you to decide where these subjects fit in the order of delivery.

If you want to keep the choice of optional units open to each individual learner, this will have an impact on your apprenticeship programme. Once an apprenticeship programme is published, every activity on that programme will be available to every learner that is enrolled. There are several approaches you could take when offering all optional units and all come with caveats:

  1. Create activities for every optional unit. By doing this, you’re assuring that there is learning content for every possible combination of optional units in Bud. The impact of this is that every learner enrolled will see every activity for every optional unit. You will need to exempt the relevant activities for every individual learner.
  2. Only create activities for mandatory units. This way you know that every learner will have the necessary relevant units and learning content. You will then need to add activities and learning content on a learner-by-learner basis for the optional units chosen. If you take this approach, we would suggest having a central folder populated with all the instructions and resources for all the optional units. A trainer can then copy and paste the relevant information for the relevant optional units into a learner’s programme.

High-Level Activity Brainstorm:

At this point, you should have an order of all the standards and qualifications subject titles for your apprenticeship programme. Now it’s time to think about all the different types of activities you could potentially deliver and evidence the learning with. The types of questions you should ask when brainstorming these activities are:

  • How will the learner learn this subject?
  • How will the learner demonstrate what they have learned?
  • What learning activities are available within the workplace for the learner?
  • When will we revisit this subject to check the learner has retained knowledge and skills?

Looking at our Customer Service Practitioner example and the specific subject of “your role and responsibilities”, you could brainstorm various types of activities such as:

  • Workplace Induction
  • Workplace Shadowing
  • Reviewing Job description
  • Professional discussion about your role
  • Holistic observation of you in your role

We suggest working your way through all the subject areas and brainstorming relevant headings that you could use to meet the learning criteria.

We also suggest that you look at the specific assessment requirements for the qualification and the End-Point Assessments that will take place for the standards. You may find that certain qualifications need assignments or multiple-choice tests to be taken. If this is the case, make sure you include an activity title that covers a practice version of the test.

To find out the End-Point Assessment Requirements, you will see the relevant assessment plan on the right-hand side of the standards page on the Institute for Apprenticeships website:



The assessment plan will state the individual end-point assessments the learner will take. For example, it may be an observation, professional discussion and a portfolio showcase. If this was the case, we would suggest you also put activity titles for practice versions of these assessments at the end of the activity list. e.g. “Practice End Point Assessment Professional Discussion”.

By the end of this section, you should have a high-level list and order of potential activities you could use to deliver this apprenticeship.


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