Accredited Prior Learning – APL

The British Canoeing Accredited Prior Learning (APL) process allows a coach or aspirant coach to apply to have any of their prior learning identified as being of equal or higher standard to a British Canoeing training course or award. British Canoeing recognises that an individual may have relevant experiences from other sports, countries and learning opportunities that they can bring to their Paddlesport coaching.

APL is mainly used to allow individuals access to a British Canoeing qualification where they do not hold the specific prerequisite for that award, but have equitable prior learning. For example an individual may want direct entry to the British Canoeing UKCC Level 2 Training course; in this instance their application would be asking to APL the pre-requisite of the British Canoeing UKCC Level 1 Certificate in Coaching Paddlesport.

Examples of prior learning include;

  • Old Style British Canoeing Coaching Awards – where coaching status and / or membership has expired
  • Coaching Awards from other sports
  • Higher or Further Education Coaching Diplomas or experience
  • Coaching Awards from other countries

How to apply and what to include;
Applicants should complete the APL Application Form. You should ensure that you read the APL Guidance Notes before completing the form as it will help you include the correct information.

Applications should include evidence of prior learning and experience equivalent to that of the pre-requisite the applicant is applying for APL from holding. It is important to ensure that you provide as much evidence of prior learning as possible to provide the Panel with enough information to make an informed decision.

Application forms should state which British Canoeing Award or qualification that wants to be achieved and which pre-requisite the applicant is applying for APL against. Applications cannot be considered by the Panel if this information is missing.

  • Along with the completed application form the following should be sent:
    A current logbook providing evidence of how active the applicant is plus the level currently being worked at, preferably under conditions relevant to Paddlesport coaching in the UK
  • A letter of recommendation from a current British Canoeing Coach (at least one award higher than that being applied for) stating that the British Canoeing referee has observed the applicant working to the standard acceptable to British Canoeing
  • First Aid certificate, relevant to the award wanting to be achieved and which has been issued within the last three years.

If a Coaching Diploma or an award from another sport or country is being used as equivalent evidence a copy of your certificate must be included with the application plus a copy of the syllabus (in English) along with a reference from the NGB to confirm where the award sits within the British Canoeing Award Scheme.

Please note, an application for APL does not guarantee it will be granted. The Panel make a decision based on the content in application forms so these should contain as much information as possible evidencing prior learning and experience. If APL is granted from holding a pre-requisite to move onto another course, this does not confer the award that has been missed out. For example if APL is granted from holding 4 Star Leader Assessment to proceed to 5 Star Leader Training, this does not mean the applicant holds the 4 Star Leader Award. British Canoeing does not give an award to an individual unless an assessment has been completed and passed. No element of an assessment can be missed through applying for APL.

Completed application forms should either be sent to The Canoe Association of Northern Ireland, Coaching Officer, Belfast Boat Club, 12 Lockview Road, Belfast, BT9 5FJ. Or emailed to

What happens next?
Once applications are received by the APL Officer, you will be notified with the outcome of your application within 4 weeks.