Payroll Admin L3 Apprenticeship

Level 3 Payroll Administrator Apprenticeship
two finance apprentices discussing work
What is a payroll administrator?

A Payroll Administrator Apprenticeship equips apprentices with the necessary skills and knowledge to set up and operate the payroll system within their employing organisation or on behalf of another organisation.

Throughout the Apprenticeship, you will learn to process employee payments, manage tax deductions, handle pension contributions, and ensure compliance with payroll regulations.

The programme is ideal for those with excellent attention to detail, strong organizational skills, and a passion for working with numbers.

The primary duties we cover on this apprenticeship...
  • Undertake awareness activities to identify the business model and the sector in which it is operating. Examples may include the private sector, public sector, in-house, payroll bureau, bookkeeping, agent etc, including the internal and external stakeholders so that the payroll service is delivered is suitable and appropriate for stakeholders’ needs in line with any Service Level Agreement that may exist
  • Gather payroll-related information such as worker and payment details to ensure statutory and contractual payments can be made on time and accurately
  • Create payroll records from the information gathered prior to payroll processing, updating and validating as appropriate using workplace systems and processes
  • Process payroll data to ensure that workers are paid on time and accurately using payroll software and associated finance, HR and IT systems, as appropriate in the workplace. Whilst a working knowledge of systems and processes is essential, this must be underpinned by the ability to perform manual calculations
  • Comply with payroll-related statutory and contractual obligations. Examples may include the statutory regulation and guidance surrounding Income Tax, National Insurance Contributions and workplace pensions, the employment law obligation to pay workers on time and the submission of payroll data to HMRC via Real Time Information (RTI)
  • Adhere to organisational internal reporting deadlines and obligations using agreed systems and processes. Examples may include the use of computerised payroll software, spreadsheet packages such as MS Excel and payroll procedure manuals
  • Communicate professionally and effectively with stakeholders internal and external to the payroll function, identifying the appropriate communication media for each situation. Examples may include ‘phone, face-to-face, E-Mail, video call etc
  • Demonstrate in all actions and interactions the professional ethical standards relevant to the payroll profession, company values and role whilst adhering to legal requirements such as the principles
  • Provide information, support and guidance to colleagues and stakeholders within the scope of the role in the pursuit of paying on time and accurately
  • Identify the problem-solving techniques that apply in a given situation taking ownership through to resolution, escalating complex situations where appropriate
  • Apply the effective and appropriate workplace systems and processes in line with organisational requirements within the constraints of data protection legislation, such as, the Data Protection Act
  • Practice guided continuous self-learning and professional development to maintain and develop knowledge and skills in a profession that is constantly changing, for example through workplace learning, research and / or training courses
Apprentices will benefit from:

Earn a wage, whilst studying a fantastic course

Gaining experience in a fast-paced & competitive industry

No learning costs for the Apprentice


Potential career paths of Payroll Administration Apprentices…

  • Assistant bookkeeper 
  • Bookkeeper 
  • Human resources and payroll administrator 
  • Human resources and payroll officer 
  • Payroll advisor 
  • Payroll and reward administrator 
  • Payroll Assistant 
  • Payroll bureau officer 
  • Payroll officer
more Information
Occupation Summary

This occupation is found in organisations delivering in-house payroll or in a payroll bureau, bookkeeping or accounting practice providing payroll as a service. The payroll administrator may sit within another business function, for example HR or Finance or may be a stand-alone role. The role may exist in the private, public or voluntary sector for businesses of varying sizes. The role delivers a customer service to employers, clients and those they employ, so both business and customer awareness are essential. 

The broad purpose of the occupation is to process the payroll for an organisation. The payroll administrator may carry out payroll tasks for their employer or on behalf of another organisation. Payroll tasks must be carried out in compliance with statutory regulations, contractual obligations and internal controls. Payroll processing tasks will be carried out using software, but a payroll administrator must also be able to perform these calculations manually. Payroll is not a regulated profession and there is no need for any professional body membership to undertake the role.

In their daily work, a payroll administrator carries out processing and changes that will result in the calculation of net pay.  This also includes changes as a result of life events.  The role requires interaction with internal and external stakeholders. These may include HR and Finance teams, clients and Government departments such as HMRC and The Pensions Regulator. A payroll administrator may work within a team, often reporting to a team leader or a manager. They may have sole admin responsibilities, for example when working in a bookkeeping practice. The work is often highly pressured to deliver accurate outputs to tight timescales such as weekly or monthly payroll outputs. To deliver a high-quality service under pressure, collaboration with colleagues and an ability to prioritise and be flexible is vital.

A payroll administrator will handle payroll queries and complaints from employees and other stakeholders. They may also be responsible for the accurate and timely completion of routine and non-routine payroll-related calculations and other information. Payroll is a constantly changing landscape so payroll administrators must keep up to date with key changes affecting payroll. This can include changes to legislation, guidance, or payroll software


How will I be assesed?

What is an end-point assessment and why it happens

An EPA is an assessment at the end of your apprenticeship. It will assess you against the knowledge, skills, and behaviours (KSBs) in the occupational standard. Your training will cover the KSBs. The EPA is your opportunity to show an independent assessor how well you can carry out the occupation you have been trained for.

Your employer will choose an end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) to deliver the EPA. Your employer and training provider should tell you what to expect and how to prepare for your EPA. The length of the training for this apprenticeship is typically 18 months. The EPA period is typically 4 months.

The overall grades available for this apprenticeship are:

  • fail
  • pass
  • merit
  • distinction

When you pass the EPA, you will be awarded your apprenticeship certificate.

EPA gateway

The EPA gateway is when the EPAO checks and confirms that you have met any requirements required before you start the EPA. You will only enter the gateway when your employer says you are ready.

The gateway requirements for your EPA are:

  • achieved English and mathematics qualifications in line with the apprenticeship funding rules
  • for the professional discussion underpinned by portfolio, you must submit a portfolio of evidence

Assessment methods

Multiple choice test

You will complete a multiple-choice test. It will be open book, meaning you can have access to some books or reference materials.  In the test you can have:

The apprentice can bring into the controlled knowledge test any tools, factcards and booklets they believe may be appropriate. This includes calculators.

The test will have 50 multiple-choice questions. You will have 120 minutes to complete it.

Professional discussion

You will have a professional professional discussion with an independent assessor. It will last 60 minutes. They will ask you at least 5 questions. The questions will be about certain aspects of your occupation. You need to compile a before the EPA gateway. You can use it to help answer the questions.

Project with report

You will complete a project and write a report. You will be asked to complete a project. The title and scope must be agreed with the EPAO at the gateway. The report should be a maximum of 3000 words (with a 10% tolerance).

You will have 8 weeks to complete the project and submit the business case to the EPAO.

You will have a question and answer session with an independent assessor to discuss the project. It will last 20 minutes. They will ask at least 4 questions.


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