Early Years Educator (CACHE Diploma) Level 3

The Early Years Educator (CACHE Diploma) Level 3 programme is designed to help learners build the knowledge and skills needed when working with children and young people from birth to 8 years of age. They cover a diverse range of job roles and occupational areas. Upon achievement of this qualification it is intended that learners will be able to enter the workforce as Early Years Educators.

National Skills Level 3 Offer

From April 2021, the Lifetime Skills Guarantee gives adult learners (who will be studying for their first full Level 3 qualification) the opportunity to study a fully-funded course. It is part of the government’s National Skills Fund to help adults to gain the skills they need for employment, and to improve their job prospects.

This Level 3 course offered at Colchester Institute is included in the Lifetime Skills Guarantee.

This programme will be free if you meet the eligibility criteria listed below. If these do not apply, you may need to pay a fee, and the fee is located further down the course information page. You can apply for a loan to cover all of your tuition fees.

Do I have to pay a fee?

This course will be free:

  • If you are aged 19+ and enrolling on a full level 3 course and you do not already have a qualification at this level*. (In some cases, if you need to enrol on a lower level to be able to progress to Level 3 you may also be eligible for free training)

* This means that you have not previously attained a full level 3 or equivalent (2 A Levels or 4 AS Levels, or QAA Access to Higher Education (HE) Diploma at level 3, or a level 3 Tech level or applied general qualification (e.g. BTEC)).

Who is this course for?

This qualification is suitable for a range of learners, either working or wishing to work in early years education and care. Learners will need to be at least 18 years old at the point of enrolment.

Work placements are required for achievement of this qualification. A minimum of 350 placement hours is required. During placement, learners will need support from a professional within the real work environment who will be required to complete professional development records.

We recommend that the placements should be undertaken in at least two different settings so that all three of the following age ranges are covered.

Age RangeMinimum required hours in a work setting
0 – 1 year 11 months25
2 – 2 years 11 months133
3 – 5 years192

Attendance is closely monitored by your tutor and training advisor. Excellent attendance is required in order to achieve the qualification.

What will I learn?

Early Years Educator (CACHE Diploma) units:

The course combines developing your practical skills at work combined with theoretical knowledge at college.

  • CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Workforce (Early Years Educator) (QCF)
  • Theme 1: Health and well-being
  • Theme 2: Legislation, frameworks and professional practice
  • Theme 3: Play, development and learning for school readiness
  • Theme 4: Professional development

How will I be assessed?

The above modules will be assessed practically and through written assessments. This is a practical course where students are expected to provide evidence through classroom activity, guided assignment work, practical sessions and workplace experience.

What award will I achieve?

CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Children and Young Peoples Workforce EYE.

Entry Requirements

Candidates should have a strong interest in the area of working with children to support their learning, and development. They will need to be dedicated and committed to their study and be responsible for their own learning. Students on this course are required to be either employed or working in a voluntary capacity in a suitable childcare setting that can include Nursery, Pre-school or School.

Additional entry requirements include GCSEs Maths and English at grades A*-C (9-4). Individuals that do not meet the qualification criteria but do have significant experience within the skills sector will still be considered on an individual basis. We offer English Language and Mathematics GCSE intensive resit programmes over 32 weeks to adults over the age of 19. These are part-time courses consisting of one 3 hour session per week with a subject specialist tutor. To have full licence to practice you must have obtained GCSE Maths and English on completion of this programme.

Course Progression

Possible progression to higher education programmes. Higher education opportunities may include the Foundation Degree in Early Years at Colchester Institute.

How To Apply

The application window for part-time courses starting in September and October 2022 will be open from January 4th 2022.

Applications for this course are made via our online application form and you will be able to access it from this course page.

Once we are accepting applications and you are ready to apply then please click the ‘Apply Online‘ button which will appear below in the next menu.

Upon successful submission of an application you will receive an acknowledgement email from our Admissions team. If you do not receive this you should contact the team to check that your application has been received.

We will begin to process applications for courses starting in the 2022-23 academic year from January 2022.

During the spring-term applicants will receive further correspondence from the College about the next stages of the admissions process. These will include details about interviews with the course tutor or any pre-assessments and trades tests, which start to take place from May.

If you have any further questions about the application process or next available start date, want to check the progress of your application or if you are unsure about anything please contact us using the enquiry line or enquiry form below.

Early Years Educator (CACHE Diploma) Level 3
LevelLevel 3
Duration36 weeks. Work experience can take up to 18 months duration.
Study ModePart-Time
CampusColchester Campus
Start DateSeptember 2022 - Applications open on 4th January 2022
AttendanceClassroom based delivery is 1 day per week 10am - 2pm
Fee(s)19+: £2,882*
*This course will be free to any adult meeting the eligibility criteria under the Lifetime Skills Guarantee


All Fees and prices shown on this page are for courses starting in the 2021-22 academic year unless stated otherwise, and are correct at the time of entering/printing information, however these may be subject to change. The College cannot accept legal or financial liability as a result of any such changes.

The course information describes programmes offered by Colchester Institute. The College takes all reasonable steps to provide courses as described, but cannot guarantee provision. The information is for guidance and does not form any part of a contract.

The College reserves the right to update and amend information as and when necessary. Colchester Institute will do its best to provide the courses shown, but may have to modify or withdraw a course depending on customer demand and other factors.