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Apprenticeship in School Chaplaincy and Youth

This two-year course is relevant to those wishing to become Lay Chaplains in Schools and Colleges or Youth Workers in Parishes and Retreat Centres.

The Apprenticeship prepares you for these essential roles:

  • responding to the sacramental and spiritual needs of the school and college
  • pastoral care of the pupils and staff
  • facilitating links between the school and parishes.

It is designed for those who are working (or planning to work) with young people in the fields of School and College Chaplaincy and Youth Ministry. It is a two-year programme in which 20% of participants’ time is spent in ‘off-the job training’ which is led by an experienced academic team from St Mary’s University.

Those applying would include teachers, teaching assistants, school chaplains, youth ministers, and pastoral workers. Face-to-face training delivered in key ‘hubs’ will be combined with online study.

Upon successful completion apprentice candidates will be awarded the Award Title: Certificate of Higher Education in Chaplaincy, and have met the standards of the Children, Young People and Families Practitioner Apprenticeship.

Apprenticeship partners:

Diocese of Nottingham

The occupation covered by this apprenticeship standard is that of a practitioner supporting the learning and development of children and young people and their families 0-19 years.  

This academic award is specifically designed for those who are working (or planning to work) with young people in the fields of School and College Chaplaincy and Youth Ministry. This programme is aimed at deepening theoretical formulation and evidence-informed approach to practice. This is a professional standard for successful candidates to gain an entry level qualification to Chaplaincy with the option of post apprenticeship studies to degree and post-graduate qualifications in the Ministry of Chaplaincy. Those applying to this programme are likely to include teachers, teaching assistants, school chaplains, youth ministers, and pastoral workers.  

School Chaplaincy and Youth Ministry has become increasingly important in recent years in this country and many other parts of the world. Those involved in ministry increasingly take on greater responsibilities in line with their abilities hence it is essential that they are effectively trained and have an underpinning sound in theological education.

The Bishops of England and Wales and the Church of England Diocesan Board of Schools expect those who are working in School Chaplaincy/Youth Ministry to have a good theological grounding in the  Identity and Mission of Schools and Colleges. Chaplaincy is integral to the Life and Mission within the Section 48 religious inspection framework as well as the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS). It is needful therefore to provide a high level of formation in these areas of ministry, and this programme endeavours to support this. 

Hence the purpose of this course is to enable those working with young people in education and youth ministry to develop and deepen their theological and pedagogical literacy and thus support the pastoral care of young people. As St Mary’s has a notable stake in teacher education and historically has offered a degree programme in this area, it is already resourced in terms of library and staffing expertise well placed to offer this qualification.  

The apprenticeship will cover the skills and theological understanding to provide support and leadership of liturgical events and develop resources to animate the spiritual, religious, and liturgical life of the school, and lead appropriate liturgies. 

It is essential practice to ensure Chaplains are aware of safeguarding responsibilities and the intersectional experiences of equality and diversity and have the necessary pedagogical training to promote the welfare of children and young people within school. 

  • Developing Pastoral and Academic Practice 
    (January-March, Year One)
  • The Development of Children and Young People’s Development in a Pastoral Context 
    (April-June, Year One)
  • SEND and Inclusion at the Heart of Pastoral Care 
    (September-December, Year One)
  • Health, Wellbeing and Spirituality of Children and Young People 
    (January-April, Year Two)
  • Ethical and Policy Considerations in Pastoral Leadership 
    (April-June, Year-Two)
  • Managing Behaviour: Educational and Pastoral Perspectives
    (July, Year Two)

The Catholic Certificate in Religious Studies (CCRS) is a foundational aspect of the School Chaplaincy and Youth Ministry Apprenticeship.

CCRS provides Apprentices with a firm theological grounding which underpins their training. The course will include modules in Chaplaincy and Prayer and Liturgy.

The course runs over the two-year period of the Apprenticeship programme.

Application process

To apply for this apprenticeship please complete our online application form.

Apply online

Once you have applied you will be asked to complete the Initial Needs Assessment. 


Learning time

  • Contact time: 120 hours (10%)
  • Work-based learning: 800 hours (66.6%)
  • Guided-learning: 120 (10%)
  • Independent study: 160 (13.3%)

Key forms and documents

A commitment statement must be agreed and signed by the apprentice, employer and training provider before an apprenticeship programme starts.
Tripartite meetings are held every term to review progress against the Apprenticeship Standard's knowledge, skills and behaviours.

Useful links

If you would like to find out more about this programme please contact the Course Lead, Susan Elderfield: