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Payroll Administrator Level 3 Apprenticeship Standard (Shropshire)

Course overview

Payroll Administrators may work in-house within the HR or Finance function or in a payroll bureau, bookkeeping or accounting practice, or professional services company. In medium to large organisations, a Payroll Administrator may work as part of a team, often reporting to a team leader, supervisor or manager. In smaller organisations, a Payroll Administrator may be a stand-alone role with sole responsibility for the payroll function. Additionally, and depending on their role within the organisation, a Payroll Administrator may also have responsibility for the accurate and timely completion of routine and non-routine payroll-related calculations and other information. Course details are below.

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Apprenticeship Standards Information

Level: 3

Duration (norm): 18 months

Code: ST0073

Max Funding Value: £9,000

Delivery Model: The apprentice will visit the training center once every four weeks (day release). In addition, the trainer will visit the employer site for reviews throughout the duration of the course.

English and Mathematics: Level 2/C for both must be achieved prior to End Point Assessment (this content will be blended into the apprentice's study programme if it is required)


  • Business and customer awareness: The payroll function is different depending on the sector in which the organisation is operating. To create, process, validate and report payroll-related information, it is essential to know the environment in which the organisation exists. (E.g. is the role in the private or public sector, is it a bureau-type operation, internal function etc). Understand and appreciate that this awareness information is crucial to recognising customer and supplier needs and obligations, both internal and external.
  • Payroll: The overall purpose of the function is to process payrolls on time and accurately. This requires a wide overview of many different activities that will or may be encountered.
  • Pensions: The Payroll and Pension professions are intrinsically linked. Achieve an overview of the pension landscape as it affects payroll. (E.g. types of schemes, the UK systems of tax relief and the relevance of the State Pension). A broad understanding and appreciation of the structure of workplace pensions and auto-enrolment is fundamental. This includes the key rules, roles and administration responsibilities as per guidance produced by The Pensions Regulator.
  • Technical: To ensure the organisation meets its payroll-related statutory and contractual obligations, understand the technical aspects of payroll for the accurate calculation of gross through to net pay. This includes the calculation of the statutory payments and deductions, including voluntary deductions.
  • Regulations and compliance: Payroll is governed by regulation and compliance standards which must be applied in the workplace. A Payroll Administrator will understand how to apply the regulatory, compliance and legislative environment for the technical payroll aspects above. This is in respect of the impact in their role for both the organisation and the payees, including data protection / confidentiality.
  • Systems and processes: Payroll information is created, verified and reported via a combination of systems and processes, such as the payroll software itself, finance, HR and IT systems. A working knowledge of these is fundamental to an administrator’s ability to perform their role at the workplace. A Payroll Administrator will be proficient in the systems and processes that are applicable in their role, including at least one piece of computerised payroll software and spreadsheet package, such as Microsoft Excel


  • Planning and priorities: Proactively takes responsibility for planning, organising and prioritising their workload and time in order to successfully achieve results within deadlines. Performs in pressurised situations, responding to changes where necessary. Recognises where issues need to be escalated.
  • Analysis: Using the Knowledge requirements in ‘Payroll’ as they apply at the workplace, correctly judges and interprets information to make effective decisions on data processing. This is with the overall aim of ensuring payroll deadlines are met. Assumes ownership through to resolution, escalating complex situations where appropriate.
  • Systems and processes: Demonstrates the ability to identify and effectively use the appropriate workplace systems and processes required to complete tasks. For example, to write letters, send and receive E-Mail, analyse, input and report on payroll-related data. Example systems may include MS Office, or equivalent, and the payroll software used in the workplace.
  • Quality: Effectively apply Knowledge to consistently deliver high quality, accurate data and information in a timely fashion. Demonstrates the relevant use of agreed workplace systems and processes to deliver quality service to customers on a range of payroll-related queries and requirements.
  • Collaboration: Within the organisation, recognises and demonstrates their own role within the team and the impact of their actions on others working in it. Consistently collaborates and supports colleagues within the team to achieve results whilst also being able to work independently. Builds and maintains positive relationships within their own team and across the organisation.
  • Communication: External to the organisation, recognises stakeholders and demonstrates appropriate professional communication and engagement methods. For example, this may include employees if the payroll function is performed in-house or may include clients if operating in a bureau-type operation. Further, this will include liaison with payroll representative bodies and stakeholders such as HMRC and The Pensions Regulator. Deal with queries in an efficient and professional manner, ensuring positive relationships are built and maintained.


  • Ethics and integrity: Maintaining confidentiality at all times. Consistently respects others and meets the ethical requirements of the payroll profession.
  • Adaptability: Accepts change and demonstrates the flexibility to maintain high professional standards in a changing environment.
  • Professional scepticism: Has the ability and confidence to use sound questioning and verification techniques on receipt of payroll-related information in the workplace. This is with the overall purpose of being alert to any possible misstatement of factual information due to error or fraud.
  • Proactive enthusiasm: Displays energy and enthusiasm in performing the role, staying resilient under pressure. Takes responsibility for their work, accepting feedback and dealing positively with setbacks and challenges when they occur.
  • Professional development: Takes responsibility for their own personal development. Adopts a positive approach to maintaining and developing knowledge and skills through a range of methods, for example workplace learning, research and professional courses. Embraces opportunities for continuous professional development and actively records development in both their current role and throughout their career in the payroll profession.

External Qualification

This apprenticeship does not feature any external qualifications.

Endpoint Assessment

The End Point Assessment consists of three elements:

  1. Multiple choice test
  2. Role simulation
  3. Professional discussion with an assessor

The assessment is done in this order and the apprentice must pass each one before progressing on to the next.

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