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Overview of the role

Participate in habitat management, pest and predator control and animal husbandry in support of a shooting enterprise.

Details of standard

Occupation summary

Occupation summary:
This occupation is found in the game and wildlife management sector. The broad purpose of the occupation is to participate in habitat management, pest and predator control and animal husbandry in support of a shooting enterprise. As well as producing a harvestable surplus of gamebirds, an underkeeper contributes to associated conservation activities for the benefit of other flora and fauna. An underkeeper will assist on shoot days and will be expected to undertake routine estate maintenance. In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with a variety of organisations and individuals, including estate managers, senior gamekeepers, police/other statutory bodies, paying guests, other land users and the general public. Underkeeper’s work under some challenging conditions and can be expected to work some unsociable hours and will be outdoors in all weathers. They need to follow instructions precisely from the headkeeper or estate manager to help deliver an estate’s management plan, but frequently operate alone and need to rely
on their own initiative and adaptability. An employee in this occupation will be responsible for

supporting the management of landscapes, wildlife and shooting activities. To fulfil these requirements an underkeeper needs to be competent and qualified in a range of practical gamekeeping skills, including animal and bird husbandry, the creation and maintenance of healthy habitat, and the responsible and appropriate use of all relevant traps, pesticides, hand tools, power tools and firearms.

Occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Maintain healthy gamebird populations including the use of medications, feeding wild birds, care of laying birds, hatching eggs, rearing game, recognise and responding common diseases and releasing game, whilst raising animals with optimal welfare and consideration for their needs throughout the different stages of life Uphold the five animal welfare freedoms as contained in the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

K2 K3 K15 K16 K21

S1 S4 S6 S7

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

Duty 2 Use a variety of integrated methods to control pests and predators of game, including the use of firearms, traps and pesticides.

K1 K2 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K10 K11 K13 K16 K19

S1 S6 S7 S8 S9 S10 S19 S20 S21

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B8

Duty 3 Participate in the running of a shoot day by ensuring all equipment is ready to use, help with briefing beaters/pickers, welcome guests, assist with the beating line for drives, prepare game for the chiller and prepare for the next day.

K1 K5 K7 K8 K9 K12 K13 K20

S1 S2 S5 S7 S8 S10 S13 S14 S20 S21 S22 S23 S24

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

Duty 4 Undertake the care of gundogs.


S1 S5 S21 S22

B1 B3 B4 B7 B8

Duty 5 Work safely and undertake risk assessments for all aspects of work. Maintain good standards of health and safety for self and others. Administer emergency first aid.

K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K13 K14

S1 S2 S9 S10 S11 S12 S18 S20 S21

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

Duty 6 Use ATVs, tractors, chainsaws, strimmers and brushcutters that you identify as appropriate to undertake, maintain and create the habitat appropriate to the landscape.

K4 K9 K14 K17 K18 K19

S10 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15 S16 S17 S18 S19 S21

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7

Duty 7 Identify and fell trees that require management due to disease, to provide conservation benefits and provide timber.

K2 K4 K9 K12 K13

S1 S3 S7 S9 S10 S11 S12 S13 S14 S15 S16 S17 S18 S21

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

Duty 8 Operate with current legislation and licensing requirements.

K1 K5 K9 K10 K11 K13 K22

S19 S20

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

Duty 9 Use firearms safely and comply with all legal requirements (Home Office guidance) for ownership, storage and use.

K1 K5 K6 K7 K8 K13

S1 S2 S10 S20 S21 S25

B4 B5 B6 B7

Duty 10 Ensure safe access to land for the general public where appropriate.

K1 K5 K8 K9 K12 K13

S1 S2 S8 S9 S18 S19

B1 B2 B3 B4 B6 B7

Duty 11 Creation and maintenance of healthy habitat but undertaking conservation management that is appropriate to the landscape to ensure sustainable and thriving wildlife and habitats.

K2 K4 K13 K14 K17 K18 K19

S1 S3 S7 S8 S9 S10 S13 S14 S16 S17 S18 S19 S20 S21

B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8

Duty 12 Have a basic understanding of the effect of deer on the surrounding landscape and appropriate methods of control.

K2 K4 K5 K6 K7 K8 K9 K17 K18 K22 K23 K24

S20 S25

B4 B8

Duty 13 Develop an understanding of the ambassadorial role of a gamekeeper and what it means to represent the countryside and a rural way of life to the wide public.



B4 B5 B7



K1: Legislation and licensing requirements applicable to game shooting in England. Back to Duty

K2: The ecological requirements of relevant game species and habitat preferences. Back to Duty

K3: The requirements of animal and bird husbandry as dictated by the enterprise. Including the use of medications, feeding wild birds, care of laying birds, hatching eggs and rearing game, releasing game and care of associated animals such as gundogs. Back to Duty

K4: How to maximise conservation benefits relevant to the shooting enterprise. Back to Duty

K5: Current legislation appropriate to rifle and shotgun use. Back to Duty

K6: Rifle and shotgun cleaning and routine maintenance procedures. Back to Duty

K7: Storage and transport of shotguns and rifles. Back to Duty

K8: Health and safety considerations relating to rifle and shotgun use. Back to Duty

K9: Relevant health and safety legislation and industry good practice. Back to Duty

K10: The law and Code of Practice covering fox snaring. Back to Duty

K11: Snare design and equipment preparation to comply with the code of practice. Back to Duty

K12: The social and economic impact of shooting in the UK. Back to Duty

K13: How to manage public access, to include an understanding of the requirement to maintain public footpaths and access points such as stiles and gates and the implications of public access to land mapped as 'open country' (mountain, moor, heath and down) or registered common land. Back to Duty

K14: Identifying the tools and methods appropriate for relevant land management operation, such as choosing between a nylon strimmer head and a brushcutter blade for a vegetation clearance task. Back to Duty

K15: Understand how to identify signs of common game bird diseases, including rotavirus, coccidiosis, gape worms, mycoplasma ('bulgy eye') and spironucleus/trichomonas. Back to Duty

K16: Understand how to plan an integrated pest and predator control regime appropriate to the landscape, choosing relevant pest control methods. Back to Duty

K17: Understand and identify the appropriate land management practices to enhance habitat. Back to Duty

K18: Recognise common countryside flora and fauna. Back to Duty

K19: Understand landscape designations such as Site of Special Scientific Interest, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, RAMSAR and the laws surrounding them. Back to Duty

K20: Understand the principles of flushing game on a driven shoot day, including a thorough understanding of the drives on a relevant shooting enterprise. Back to Duty

K21: Know the five freedoms as set out in the Animal Welfare Act 2006. a. its need for a suitable environment b. its need for a suitable diet (and water) c. Its need to exhibit normal behaviour patterns d. any need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals in appropriate social groupings e. its need to be protected from fear, pain, suffering, injury and disease. Back to Duty

K22: To have knowledge of and comply with the law relating to current legislation on animal welfare and species protection legislation such as the Wildlife and Countryside Act, Animal Welfare Act, the Conservation Habitats of Species Regulations, UK trapping standards, Wild Mammals Protection Act etc. Back to Duty

K23: Identify the six species of deer that live wild in the UK. Back to Duty

K24: An understanding of legislation relating to deer, and in particular the Deer Act. Back to Duty


S1: Maintain good standards of health and safety, keeping self and others safe in the workplace. Back to Duty

S2: Administer emergency first aid. Back to Duty

S3: Use land management techniques such as burning, pesticide application, coppicing, hedgelaying, pond creation and planting. Back to Duty

S4: Recognise and deal with common gamebird diseases through administering medication and seeking veterinary assistance as appropriate, in a speedy and timely manner. Back to Duty

S5: Undertake the care of gundogs through identifying and treating minor injuries and ailments. Back to Duty

S6: Use a variety of integrated methods to control pests and predators of game, including firearms, traps and poisons. Back to Duty

S7: Identify relevant species of game, pests, predators and vegetation. Back to Duty

S8: Use digital technology relevant to the workplace effectively, including Global Positioning Systems and the responsible use of social media. Back to Duty

S9: Work safely and carry out risk assessments for all practical land management activities undertaken such as tree felling, hedgelaying, burning, pond creation, pesticide application and planting. Back to Duty

S10: Select and use the appropriate personal protective equipment. Back to Duty

S11: Carry out pre-use safety checks on ATVs, tractors, chainsaws, strimmers and brushcutters. Back to Duty

S12: Undertake pre-use maintenance of tractors and ATVs. Back to Duty

S13: Operate and ride/ drive tractors, both sit in and sit-astride ATVs, and with a trailer or implement. Back to Duty

S14: Hitch a trailer and PTO driven attachments. Back to Duty

S15: Carry out maintenance of strimmers, brushcutters and chainsaws. Back to Duty

S16: Cross-cut timber using a chainsaw. Back to Duty

S17: Fell and process trees up to 380mm. Back to Duty

S18: Operate strimmers and brushcutters safely. Back to Duty

S19: Set fox snares according to the Code of Best Practice. Back to Duty

S20: Demonstrate safe handling and use of a rifle and a shotgun. Back to Duty

S21: Manually handle loads safely such as moving coppiced wood, gundogs, equipment or game. Back to Duty

S22: Care of working dogs, to include fitness, routine care and handling in the field. Back to Duty

S23: Communicate instructions clearly to beaters/pickers and shoot guests. Back to Duty

S24: Prepare game at the end of the shoot. Back to Duty

S25: Capable of accurate rifle shooting. Back to Duty


B1: Have a strong work ethic, including self-motivation and time management. Back to Duty

B2: Have a flexible, positive attitude to work. Back to Duty

B3: Ability to work as a lone worker and as a member of a team. Back to Duty

B4: A willingness to listen and learn from others. Back to Duty

B5: An enthusiasm for the conservation benefits of game shooting. Back to Duty

B6: Ability to take personal responsibility. Back to Duty

B7: Problem solving and effective decision making. Back to Duty

B8: To respect wildlife and all animals in their care. Back to Duty


English and Maths

English and maths qualifications form a mandatory part of all apprenticeships and must be completed before an apprentice can pass through gateway. The requirements are detailed in the current version of the apprenticeship funding rules.

Other mandatory qualifications

• Level 2 Award in Game Meat Hygiene

Level: 2

• Level 2 award in Safe Use of Pesticides. On completion of the pesticides foundation one of the following units will also be required: a:) boom sprayer b:) mounted, trailed or self-propelled equipment c:) granular applicator equipment d:) handheld applicator equipment

Level: 2

• Level 2 Rat Control for Gamekeepers certificate. The following are acceptable: a:) NGO Rodenticide training for gamekeepers b:) Lantra Awards Level 2 Award in pest management c:) Lantra Awards Rodent control on farms

Level: 2

Additional details

Occupational Level:


Duration (months):



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

Status: Retired
Level: 2
Reference: ST0412
Version: 1.1
Date updated: 20/02/2023
Route: Agriculture, environmental and animal care
Typical duration to gateway: 18 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £7000
LARS Code: 571
EQA Provider: Ofqual
Employers involved in creating the standard: This gamekeeping standard has the support of over 20 estates.

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.3 Occupational standard and end-point assessment plan revised 15/12/2023 Not set Not set
1.2 Standard and end-point assessment plan revised 25/07/2023 14/12/2023 Not set
1.1 Standard and end-point assessment plan revised 22/12/2022 24/07/2023 Not set
1.0 Approved for delivery 10/07/2020 21/12/2022 Not set

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