Starts on this apprenticeship are paused in the absence of an End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO). Starts will be permitted again once a suitable EPAO is in place.

Overview of the role

Supporting the design, manufacture and performance of puppets.

Details of standard

Occupation summary

Assistant Puppet Makers (APM) support the design, manufacture (making) and performance of puppets for theatre, film, TV, carnival, animation, applied puppetry and outdoor arts.  They may work for a single Senior Puppet Maker or as part of a wider technical and performance team led by a Creative Director.  They are responsible for contributing to the care of their puppets, including how they are handled, stored, transported and used during a performance/production.  They must know how to undertake basic repairs to puppets and choose appropriate materials for manufacture to aid their preservation.

APMs must know how to design basic puppets suitable to the performance/production using appropriate technical drawing methods, and must be able to manufacture puppets to their own or others’ designs, selecting the most suitable materials for the conditions the puppet will be used in, for example: weather tolerant if used for outdoor performances, of sturdy structure if used for immersive/audience interactive performances, or resistant to heat and light damage if used in close proximity to theatre lighting.  APMs must understand the best application and likely lifespan of different materials and be confident making puppets from a range of materials such as paper, wood, papier mache, foam, wire, metal, rubber, acrylic and soft materials.  They must understand the required movement of puppets depending on the performance, and apply design and build methods to ensure said requirements can be met.  This may include the application and use of traditional strings, robotics or digital programming.

APMs must be confident in the use and maintenance of hand and machine tools and materials relevant to their puppetry setting(s) such as those outlined above. They must meet minimum Health and Safety requirements associated with puppet making, including how to keep oneself and team members safe, in line with company policies.

Alongside the design and manufacture of puppets, APMs must also have awareness of the performance of puppets for live and recorded productions, and as such must have knowledge of creative performance principles to ensure puppets can be animated in line with performance scripts.

Typical job titles include:

Assistant puppet maker Puppet maker Puppet technician

Entry requirements

Level 3 and above apprenticeships Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.

Occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Make puppets so they have the technical performance functions required to meet the production brief

S2 S3

Duty 2 Make puppets from a range of materials suitable for the environment/type of performance they are intended for

K6 K7

S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 S9

B2 B3 B4 B5 B6

Duty 3 Design puppets in response to a given brief

K8 K9 K10

S10 S11

B2 B3 B4 B5 B6

Duty 4 Meet Health and Safety compliance requirements in line with company policies and procedures


S12 S13 S14

B1 B5

Duty 5 Undertake basic repairs to puppets to aid their desired longevity and use

K12 K13

S15 S16

B2 B5 B6

Duty 6 Work as part of a team to agreed deadlines

S17 S19 S20


Duty 7 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding about puppet making as a craft and puppetry as a creative performance aid

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K14





K1: Understand the history of puppet making and performance including the contexts and cultures within which they have been used and how audiences engage and empathise with puppets, along with the different types of puppet used through the ages such as string puppets, glove puppets, shadow puppets and muppet-style puppets Back to Duty

K2: Have awareness of the types and scales of organisation that commission, use and/or apply puppetry Back to Duty

K3: Know how to operate as a freelance puppet maker which may include project management, utilising online platforms, networking Back to Duty

K4: nderstand the costs associated with different materials, where they’re sourced from and how these are selected to meet budget requirements Back to Duty

K5: Understand how to minimise waste when using materials to comply with the organisation’s sustainability policy Back to Duty

K6: Know which materials to use appropriate to the nature, purpose and frequency of the puppet’s use such as paper, wood, papier mache, foam, wire, metal, rubber, acrylic and soft materials Back to Duty

K7: Understand the importance of and variation in protective cases for the safe storage and transport of different puppets before, during and after a performance and how these should prevent water damage, rodent and insect damage, environmental damage, and accidental damage during transport Back to Duty

K8: Understand basic anatomy and bio-mechanics such as skeletal structure, muscles, and tendons in humans and wildlife and how this influences a puppet’s movement Back to Duty

K9: Understand the use of joints and mechanisms appropriate to a puppet’s planned usage/purpose Back to Duty

K10: Understand the most appropriate design method(s)to use to best respond to the design brief which may include technical illustration, CAD and/or Virtual Reality design Back to Duty

K11: Understand basic health and safety requirements associated with the environments within which puppets are used such as outdoor settings, film and TV sets, Theatres and other indoor venues, which may include basic audience and staff safety and security, noise regulations, working at height, basic electrics and handling workshop equipment Back to Duty

K12: derstanding in a range of basic repair and restoration methods that can help prolong the life of a puppet relevant to different materials e.g. wood, metal, acrylic Back to Duty

K13: Know how to safely and appropriately move and store puppets, relevant to their type, to minimise general wear and tear or long-term damage to them Back to Duty

K14: Understand the performance techniques and conditions associated with live or recorded productions, such as performing in front of a green screen, voice-overs, CGI, or hidden puppeteers Back to Duty


S1: Build joints and mechanisms suitable for the type of puppetry and performance environment which may include leather hinge joints, wooden pin joints and plastic pipe joints Back to Duty

S2: Demonstrate the basic mechanics of puppetry such as the relationship/separation between puppeteer and puppet, focus, reaction, use of breath and expression to give life to an inanimate object Back to Duty

S3: Show how to hold and animate a puppet based on its type, such as rod, table top, bunraku, glove, shadow, muppet-style, large scale, and digital to ensure it is suitable for its intended purpose and environment Back to Duty

S4: Select and use the most appropriate materials for construction such as paper, wood, papier mache, foam, wire, metal, rubber, acrylic and/or soft materials for the puppet’s desired use, weight, balance and desired longevity Back to Duty

S5: Undertake construction methods such as carving, foam patterning, mould casting, soft sculpture, seam-stressing, metalwork, assemblage, large scale construction, animatronics, paints and finishes, suitable to the type of puppetry. Back to Duty

S6: Apply relevant mechanics such as push pull cable and rod mechanisms, basic digital robotics, hydraulics, suitable to the type of puppetry Back to Duty

S7: Use and maintain hand and machine tools appropriate to the type of puppet making, which may include pillar drills, hand drills, belt sanders, bandsaws, glue and air heat tools, hammers, pliers, grips and vices, knives and scalpels, files and abrasives, spanners, chisels, sewing machines Back to Duty

S8: Make costumes for puppets using appropriate methods that allow for necessary movement and withstand the frequency and environments within which the puppets are used, which may include costumes in fabric, plastic or hand painted attire directly applied to the puppet Back to Duty

S9: Modify a puppet's build to respond to design and/or environmental changes, such as changes in weather conditions, indoor lighting and heat, or a puppeteer’s size, using tools and materials that are appropriate to the type of puppetry Back to Duty

S10: Work to agreed briefs and/or designs by creating accurate technical drawings of puppets using graphic illustration techniques that are to scale, which may include the use of CAD design software such a Rhino of Fusion 360 Back to Duty

S11: Build appropriate maquette and/or prototypes in line with the agreed project timeline to assess the puppet’s suitability for the intended performance/environment Back to Duty

S12: Select and use the most appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Back to Duty

S13: Comply with Health and safety regulations including IOSH and COSHH Back to Duty

S14: Apply relevant H&S considerations to a puppet’s build to prevent injury and aid safe, comfortable and efficient manipulation of the puppet by the puppeteer Back to Duty

S15: Select and use necessary building and finishing techniques and materials to ensure the puppet’s appropriate resistance to damage caused by different conditions such as weather, heat and light, performance wear and tear, audience interaction and pest corrosion Back to Duty

S16: Build basic storage cases using materials such as wood, plastic or metal, to aid puppet preservation before, during and after performances to reduce damage/corrosion, including during transit. Back to Duty

S17: Confidently work alongside and support others as part of a project or permanent team to ensure the successful completion of a brief Back to Duty

S18: Clearly present ideas and methods to aid the design and construction of puppets Back to Duty

S19: Stay focused on the task at hand to fulfil tasks within agreed timeframes Back to Duty

S20: Organise workload effectively to ensure time is used wisely and tasks are completed in agreed priority order Back to Duty


B1: Be pro-active about learning new techniques, ways of working and improving personal knowledge Back to Duty

B2: Work with colleagues to trouble shoot in a methodical way Back to Duty

B3: Respond constructively and maturely when things don’t go as planned Back to Duty

B4: Remain calm under pressure Back to Duty

B5: Take and respond to instruction Back to Duty

B6: Seek solutions to problems and takes advice from those with relevant expertise Back to Duty

B7: Friendly and approachable at all times and open to sharing learning Back to Duty


English and Maths

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment. For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL.

Additional details

Occupational Level:


Duration (months):



this apprenticeship will be reviewed in accordance with our change request policy.

Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 3
Reference: ST0476
Version: 1.0
Date updated: 25/02/2022
Approved for delivery: 18 December 2019
Route: Creative and design
Typical duration to gateway: 18 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £13000
LARS Code: 526
Employers involved in creating the standard: Little Angel Theatre, CC Skills, Little Angel Theatre, Horse and Bamboo, Norwich Puppet Theatre, Blind Summit, Theatre Rites, Theatre Rites, Green Ginger, Folded Feather, Silent Tide/Curious School of Puppetry, Significant Object Theatre Co, The Puppet Centre, Little Chair, Smoking Apples Theatre, City of Wolverhampton College, Sad Lucy.

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.0 Approved for delivery 18/12/2019 Not set Not set

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