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Gamekeepers are both custodians of the countryside and ambassadors for shooting. When we learnt in early 2016 that the framework for apprenticeships was changing, and that the one for gamekeepers would no longer exist in 2020, we knew we couldn't stand by and let this happen. 

So the Countryside Alliance developed the new 'Underkeeper Apprenticeship', which involved input from 20 lowland and upland shoots in a major step forward for the shooting community. The apprenticeship has been published by the Institute of Apprenticeships, the Government body for administering vocational training schemes, and funding has been formally agreed.

The standard is wide-ranging and embraces those responsibilities required so that the next generation of keepers will become increasingly effective advocates, securing a sustainable future for shooting. 

Shoots will now be able to employ apprentices safe in the knowledge that they will be trained with the right skills to start their careers. The apprenticeship takes place over 18 months and covers all the key areas of gamekeeping. Candidates will work alongside keepers while also receiving off the job training at several land-based colleges around the country to achieve the required qualifications. 

You can see the full standards here, and answers to any questions you may have can be found in our FAQ below.

  • For those considering the Underkeeper Apprenticeship, find FAQs here.
  • For shoots looking to take on an underkeeper apprentice, find FAQs here.

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