Childcare Apprenticeships

Discover a career in childcare, with Children’s Care, Play, Learning and Development (CCPLD) and Playwork apprenticeships in Wales. Levels 2, 3, 4, & 5 (Diploma).

If you're passionate about working with children and their development, you'll flourish in childcare apprenticeships. We offer childcare apprenticeships in Levels 2, 3, 4 & 5.

All the qualifications are work-based, so you earn while you learn. They're also fully funded by the Welsh Government.

There's even a £4,000 incentive available to every childcare employer who would like to hire a childcare, or playwork apprentice. For more information about the incentive, contact us.

Through an apprenticeship in childcare, you'll learn how to provide stimulating and safe play, that develops their social skills and imagination, communication abilities and linguistics, and so much more, through education.

TSW Training offers four childcare apprenticeships in CCPLD and Playwork (and one Diploma), giving you a choice of specialisms and ability levels to suit your organisation. Read our testimonies to see what our clients say about us.

If you're not sure which childcare apprenticeship is right for you, or best suited to a nursery, private healthcare setting, NHS hospital or surgery, or another caring environment, take a look at each apprenticeship below. 

Our childcare apprenticeships in Wales




Employers are awarded up to £4,000 for each apprentice they recruit*

*The Welsh Government employer incentive promises £4,000 for every apprentice recruited who are between 16-24 years old and up to £2,000 for every apprentice over the age of 25.

If you'd like to know more about the employer incentive scheme, download our flyer, or send us your details and we'll get in touch.

Level 2 Apprenticeship in Children’s Care, Play, Learning Development (CCPLD)

The CCPLD is a Level 2 apprenticeship, awarded by City and Guilds.

It covers the fundamental knowledge and understanding of the new All Wales Induction Framework for Early Years and Childcare.

There are four qualifications within the apprenticeship, and you must complete all four to complete the Level:

  • Knowledge: WJEC Level 2 Children’s Care, Play, Learning & Development: Core
  • Competency: City & Guilds Level 2 Children’s Care, Play, Learning & Development: Practice
  • Essential Skills Wales Qualifications: Communication Skills Level 1
  • Essential Skills Wales Qualifications: Application of Number Level 1

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Level 3 Apprenticeship in Children’s Care, Play, Learning Development

Just like Level 2, the Level 3 contains four qualifications:

  • Knowledge: WJEC Level 2 Children’s Care, Play, Learning & Development: Core*
  • Competency: City & Guilds Level 3 Children’s Care, Play, Learning & Development: Practice
  • Essential Skills Wales Qualifications: Communication Skills Level 2
  • Essential Skills Wales Qualifications: Application of Number Level 2

*If you've already completed the Knowledge core qualification at Level 2, you won't need to repeat it at Level 3. 

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Who is the Level 2 and Level 3 CCPLD childcare apprenticeships for?

This apprenticeship programme in Wales is perfect for:

  • Post-16 learners in Wales
  • If you're working or seeking work
  • Working in regulated childcare settings, with families and children under the age of 8
  • Working NHS children’s services
  • Working with families and children aged 0-19, including child health settings.

Both apprenticeships are designed to deepen learner's knowledge and understanding of:

  • Safeguarding
  • Health and Safety
  • The core principles and values which underpin children’s care, play, learning and development
  • How to apply in practice, child-centred approaches
  • How to make a positive contribution to children’s care, play, learning and development
  • Ways of working within the sector
  • Forms of effective practice

Level 4 Apprenticeship in Children’s Care, Play, Learning Development (CCPLD)

The Level 4 Apprenticeship in CCPLD is an advanced qualification that prepares you for leadership and management in a childcare setting. At this level, you'll work on two themes - leadership and management and professional practice.

The leadership and management units of the apprenticeship take a closer look at:

  • Leading child-centred practice
  • Theoretical frameworks for leadership and management
  • Leadership and management for effective team performance

The professional practice elements give you the tools to:

  • Understand a range of leadership and management concepts, theories and techniques
  • Understand and apply child-centred approaches
  • Understand different leadership and management styles and how these influence practice within services
  • Give you the ability to work as an effective and independent learner, and as critical and reflective thinker to make informed judgements (which includes using and interpreting data)

There are three pathways for achieving professional practice. You can work with families and carers to develop parenting skills, working with children with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN), or support children with Additional Learning Needs (ALN).

Discover the Level 4 in our free guide to the qualifications and units.

Level 5 Apprenticeship in Leadership and Management of  Children’s Care, Play, Learning & Development: Practice

The Level 5 is medley, containing the Level 4 Preparing for Leadership and Management qualification, plus the Level 5 CCPLD. You'll study several mandatory units (below), before moving onto optional units which help you to specialise:

  • Leading child-centred practice
  • Theoretical frameworks for leadership and management
  • Leadership and management for effective team performance
  • Professional practice
  • Lead and manage practice that promotes the safeguarding of children
  • Lead and manage health, safety and security in the workplace

The assessment reflects your sophisticated understanding at a higher level, asking for a portfolio of evidence, a business project and a professional discussion.

To find out more about the Level 5, send an enquiry, or download our introduction to the qualification.

Level 2 Foundation Apprenticeship in Playwork

There are 3 mandatory qualifications that combine to create the Level 2 Foundation Apprenticeship in Playwork:

  • Combined Knowledge and Competency Qualification: Level 2 Diploma in Playwork
  • Essential Skills Wales Qualifications: Communication Skills Level 1
  • Essential Skills Wales Qualifications: Application of Number Level 1

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Level 3 Apprenticeship in Advanced Playwork

There are 3 mandatory qualifications that combine to create the Level 2 Foundation Apprenticeship in Playwork:

  • Combined Knowledge and Competency Qualification: Level 3 Diploma in Playwork
  • Essential Skills Wales Qualifications: Communication Skills Level 2
  • Essential Skills Wales Qualifications: Application of Number Level 2

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Level 5 Diploma in Advanced Playwork

The Level 5 is a brand new framework for 2021, designed for experienced playworkers who are developing, leading and reviewing permanent or temporary play provision within a changing environment. It's awarded by City & Guilds.

You must understand and apply the Playwork Principles in order to develop and implement an organisational framework for children and young people’s play.

It's suitable for workers who want to progress into the following roles:

  • Managers of playwork settings
  • Playwork development officers
  • Trainers or lecturers

It will also help you to prepare for the generic management qualifications, PTTLS and a foundation degree, or degree.

To achieve the Level 5 Diploma in Playwork, learners must achieve 60 credits from 10 mandatory units. There are 381 guided learning hours, but you'll need 600 hours to complete the full apprenticeship.

Get in touch today to find out more about the Level 5 Diploma, or download the guide for the diploma.

Exceptional service, in your workplace 

At TSW Apprenticeships, we believe that every step of apprenticeships process is about quality. The right qualification, the right learning support and the right employer support.

Our service promise to you:

  • We ensure the apprenticeship is relevant to, and will enhance, the roles within your organisation
  • We're committed to stretch and challenge your apprentices to be high achievers
  • We're passionate about employer engagement and we're on the learning journey with you for the duration of their qualifications 

What you get from TSW Apprenticeships

Employer apprenticeship consultation

Our experts get in touch you to discuss your teams' needs. You have the chance to ask about the childcare apprentice program, and map out the learning outcomes for your business.

The aim is to deliver a learning roadmap that enhances your company performance and service by furthering education. We'll help you digest all of the details, identify the staff ready for development, or help you recruit new talent.

Awareness sessions

We use this time during the apprenticeship to set expectations with your candidates. Your Training Advisor will plan out your journey to success, the standards you'll be measured against, and what support you'll get from your coach and your company. It sets expectations about the time and energy demanded by the childcare apprenticeship and the qualifications within them.

Health and safety appraisal

We'll visit your place of work and conduct a mandatory health and safety check. It proves you're working in a safe environment, suitable for apprentices and TAs. We manage the appraisal entirely - all you need to do is show us around. Once we've dotted the i's and crossed the t's, it's valid for four years, so you can easily take on more apprentices, or bring other qualifications into your childcare environment.

Support when they need it

Learning happens 24/7, especially when you work in childcare. Our assessors are available via email, text and WhatsApp to support your apprentices.

Employer Engagement Visits

Feedback and evaluation helps us to see how successfully the learning is transferring into your organisation, so we can help you measure the returns. 

That's why we book in a six-month Employer Engagement Visit health check with you and your apprentice.

We walk the candidate through a quick survey, where we discuss their learning experience so far and the quality of the programme. The questions are standardised, so we can collate and compare data between organisations to apply real adjustments.

Then we review with you to see if the programme is meeting your expectations, whether you're able to engage with the apprentices and their work, and if you've noticed the candidate demonstrate knowledge and competence. 

We're on hand to support you with any queries as the apprenticeship progresses.

Support through the apprenticeship key themes

If you sign up for an apprenticeship in Wales, you'll learn about key themes embedded in its curriculum.

The key themes are consistent across every apprenticeship in Wales. To find out more about your work on each key theme, and the activities our Training Advisors organise to promote them, visit our hub pages below:


Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is the difference between CCPLD and Playwork? chevron

Both the CCPLD and Playwork apprenticeships are aimed at people working in childcare settings.

  • CCPLD is for nursery age children, up to around 8 years old. 
  • Playwork is aimed at out of school activities settings, like holiday clubs, breakfast and afterschool club or youth groups.
What Level of CCPLD and Playwork should you take? chevron

If you have no other qualifications in childcare, start at the beginning with Level 2. But if you have existing childcare qualifications, it's possible to start either the CCPLD or Playwork apprenticeship at a higher Level.

Level 4 and 5 are more complex apprenticeships aimed at people with higher ability levels, already working in senior roles. You must be a qualified Level 3 or equivalent in childcare to start the Level 4 or 5.

Get in touch to discuss your situation and we'll be able to give you specific direction about the Level you need to take.



What careers are there in childcare? chevron

There are a diverse range of careers open to those with CCPLD and Playwork apprenticeships.

You can view the apprenticeships as a vehicle to accelerate your career, because it proves your ability level. 

If you have a CCPLD or Playwork apprenticeship, you can work in nurseries, schools, private healthcare settings, NHS hospitals, doctors surgeries, or another caring environment.

Your job title might be:

  • Nursery assistant
  • Nursery manager
  • Residential childcare worker
  • Childcare practitioner
  • Nursery nurse
  • Nursery practitioner
  • Playworker
  • Early years teacher
  • Teaching assistant

But there are lots of occupations beyond these few. 


Are you eligible for a CCPLD or Playwork qualification? chevron

To be eligible for a funded apprenticeship, you must be employed for at least 16 hours per week and be prepared to have a DBS check. 

The eligibility criteria varies depending which level of Playwork or CCPLD you're hoping to take. Get in touch and we'll walk you through the specifics.

How long does it take to get a CCPLD or Playwork apprenticeship? chevron

The duration of the apprenticeship depends on the level of qualification, and the needs and commitment of the learner. Most apprenticeships take between 12 months and 4 years to complete. Please get in touch to find out more. 

How will you achieve the childcare apprenticeship? chevron

You'll study a range of optional and mandatory modules, with the support of a dedicated TSW Training Advisor and Essential Skills Wales coach. You'll receive support in person, at your workplace, and online. We will:

  • Engage in an initial check-point meeting with the learner and assessor to confirm the assessment process and discuss the activities to be undertaken.
  • Support the learner to understand the unit options available and guide them in selecting units that will be most relevant to their role and ongoing career.
  • Discuss the assessment period detailing the types of opportunities and experiences that might be suitable and the resources/time available to the learner.
  • Agree timescales for the planning of opportunities and experiences that need to be completed and agree a date for the subsequent planning meeting.
  • Agree how the learner’s portfolio of evidence and reflective log will be managed.
  • Plan a series of progress meetings at which the day-to-day practice and reflections of the learner will be reviewed, supporting the identification of portfolio evidence.
  • Support the candidate to access the resources and environment that will allow the candidate to demonstrate the best of their ability.


How will you be assessed? chevron

Each apprenticeship contains mandatory and optional units, you must complete a blend of each to complete the apprenticeship.

  • Essential Skills Wales qualifications: It's a two-part assessment, a controlled task and a test.
  • Level 2 and 3 CCPLD assessment: Three internally marked, scenario-based assessments, and one externally set, externally marked, multiple choice test
  • Level 2, 3 and 5 Playwork: The Playwork apprenticeships are awarded based on credits. To get the credits for each unit, you need to supply evidence that shows your competency, knowledge and understanding of the course content. Your Training Advisor (TA) will tell you what evidence you need to supply complete the qualification. It will include observation, written knowledge, reflection, written or verbal questioning, witness testimony or work product.
How much does it cost to do a CCPLD or Playwork apprenticeship? chevron

CCPLD and Playwork apprenticeships are fully funded by the Welsh Government, so there is no cost to the employer or learner. 

You can't claim funding if you're trying to complete a new childcare apprenticeship at the same Level as an existing, equivalent qualification. For example, if you have a Level 3 CCPLD and you want to do a Level 3 Playwork, you would have to cover the cost of the qualification yourself.

What qualifications are part of the CCPLD and Playwork apprenticeships? chevron

We've covered the specific units for each Level of CCPLD and Playwork apprenticeships in our course guides. You can download a copy of the units here:

Every apprenticeship consists of vocational qualifications and Essential Skills Wales qualifications, in English, Maths and IT.

The title of the apprenticeship is the qualification you will earn at the end of the course, like 'Level 3 in Advanced Playwork'.

Within the apprenticeship are qualifications you will pass individually.

For example, you would have the Level 5 Diploma in Playwork, and within that have Communication Skills Level 2 and Application of Number Level 2.