Bud Systems

Bud Apprenticeship Management Platform

Bud provides a fully integrated software solution for the management and delivery of apprenticeship programmes. Bud’s flexible approach provides an end-to-end solution whether it be programme design, curriculum development, learner engagement, improving compliance, increasing efficiency or funding management, we support our customers to focus on the delivery of exceptional training.


  • End-to-end management and delivery of apprenticeships
  • Programme design, e-learning, standards/qualifications assessment criteria mapping
  • Online enrolment, electronic paperwork, initial assessments, LRS integration, digital signatures
  • Automated learning plans, E-portfolio, VLE, web-access, mobile access, learner access
  • Built-in funding calculations and automated funding outcomes
  • Automated ESFA ILR Funding claim file
  • Built-in compliance guidance, tracking and reporting
  • Real-time reporting, workload planner and business intelligence dashboards
  • Built-in online support, user training videos and user guides


  • Single system for the management and delivery of apprenticeships
  • Design and deliver learning programmes including resources in one system
  • Fast, simple and compliant eligibility and enrolment process
  • Simple and intuitive initial skills and LRS integration
  • Electronic paperwork, digital signatures and funding claim in one place
  • Dynamically generated learning plan with fully integrated VLE and e-portfolio
  • Intuitive, engaging platform guiding learners (and tracking progress) to EPA
  • Fully integrated learner/trainer messaging
  • Effective progress tracking against standards, qualifications and off-the-job training requirements
  • Interactive real-time reporting and business intelligence dashboards


£1 to £6 per unit per month

  • Free trial available

Service documents

G-Cloud 11


Bud Systems

Michelle Hyatt

0117 440 0300


Service scope

Service scope
Software add-on or extension Yes, but can also be used as a standalone service
What software services is the service an extension to Bud is a complete, end-to-end platform for the management and delivery of apprenticeships.
However, should transition be required or existing software systems supporting apprenticeships need to be retained, Bud can operate in a more modular format working with legacy systems and providing key elements of the overall apprenticeship delivery.
Cloud deployment model Public cloud
Service constraints None
System requirements None

User support

User support
Email or online ticketing support Email or online ticketing
Support response times The Bud Service team categorise support requests relative to the severity of the issue. This categorisation is detailed within the SLA with agreed target response times during business hours. For P1 requests (ie major loss of functionality), for example, the target response time is within 30 minutes, for a P3 issue (ie non-critical) the target is to respond within 4 hours. In the past 6 months Bud has met all required target response times.
User can manage status and priority of support tickets Yes
Online ticketing support accessibility WCAG 2.1 AA or EN 301 549
Phone support Yes
Phone support availability 9 to 5 (UK time), Monday to Friday
Web chat support Web chat
Web chat support availability 9 to 5 (UK time), Monday to Friday
Web chat support accessibility standard None or don’t know
How the web chat support is accessible Web chat is available between the user and the Client of Bud via a third party integration with Zendesk.
Web chat accessibility testing Accessibility and assistive technology for web chat is specified within Zendesk’s information pages.
Onsite support Yes, at extra cost
Support levels Bud services are supported by an in-house Service Desk during business hours (8am - 6pm). Support tickets can be logged through the integrated Support portal or via email. Each customer is provided a designated Service Agent who can be contacted by the customer's nominated Service Owner by telephone. Further escalation contact numbers are also provided.

Issues are managed through ZenDesk Support, which integrates the ITIL framework, automation and service management needed to address customer requests. The Bud Service Team investigates tickets raised, and can escalate to product specialists and development (all based in the same office) to ensure accurate, helpful communications, and speedy issue resolution. Dedicated development resources are assigned to monitor services and assist with issue investigation every day.

We provide a self-service Knowledge Centre with key word search functionality to direct users to helpful information to assist with queries.

Out of hours and onsite support can be booked in advance, subject to additional costs.
Support available to third parties Yes

Onboarding and offboarding

Onboarding and offboarding
Getting started Bud implementation is planned and delivered according to each customer's scale, situation, and subsequent requirements. This is discussed and agreed in principle within the Service Agreement. This includes Setup, Training, and any additional services procured such as consultancy or project management.

We work with customer's Implementation Team (subject matter expert) to plan and deliver the details, which may include: in-person or interactive training workshops and webinars; structured pilot testing and feedback; business process mapping; curriculum consultancy; and business change consultancy services. 

We provide a customer-specific 'Welcome to Bud' information pack to the Implementation Team, including the agreed Plan, Setup templates, and links to further supportive resources from our online modularised Knowledge Centre - a portal of process and system user materials, including training videos.
Service documentation Yes
Documentation formats
  • HTML
  • PDF
End-of-contract data extraction Bud maintains a data portability policy that provides machine readable formats for data export in .csv or .json or .xml.
End-of-contract process At the end of the contract Bud will provide the ability for (and support for) extraction of key customer-specific data within 60 business days at no cost, prior to customer-specific data being deleted from Bud.

If it is requested that Bud Archive rather than delete customer-specific data, access can be provided for a fee on an annual basis.

Additional support can be agreed according to customer requirements, subject to the rate-card for those additional services.

Using the service

Using the service
Web browser interface Yes
Supported browsers
  • Internet Explorer 11
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Firefox
  • Chrome
  • Safari 9+
  • Opera
Application to install No
Designed for use on mobile devices Yes
Differences between the mobile and desktop service Bud uses responsive web design to make our service accessible on mobiles. Bud adopts a mobile first strategy to ensure all features are available via mobile.
Accessibility standards WCAG 2.1 AA or EN 301 549
Accessibility testing Bud has been tested using assistive technology assessment tools and Bud is actively engaging to users of assistive technology
What users can and can't do using the API Bud provides the ability to perform any action via the API, e.g. add and edit applicants, retrieve learner information and update learners.

Service accounts can be setup and configured for each integration required.
API documentation Yes
API documentation formats Open API (also known as Swagger)
API sandbox or test environment Yes
Customisation available Yes
Description of customisation Bud provides the ability to customise in the following areas:
- Feature switching: customers can choose which elements of the service to utilise
- Permissions: there are fine-grained permissions that are customisable for all users of the service
- Programme Design: customers are able to design and create their own programme of learning and learning resources


Independence of resources Bud uses Microsoft Azure auto-scaling rules to horizontally scale the deployment when high load is placed on the system. This allows us to cope with demand and scale to ensure we provide consistently high quality service levels to all our clients.


Service usage metrics Yes
Metrics types Bud provides real-time dashboards within the system. These include strategic KPI information, and role-customised dashboards that link into actionable areas of the system.
Reporting types
  • Real-time dashboards
  • Reports on request


Supplier type Not a reseller

Staff security

Staff security
Staff security clearance Staff screening not performed
Government security clearance None

Asset protection

Asset protection
Knowledge of data storage and processing locations Yes
Data storage and processing locations
  • United Kingdom
  • European Economic Area (EEA)
User control over data storage and processing locations No
Datacentre security standards Complies with a recognised standard (for example CSA CCM version 3.0)
Penetration testing frequency At least once a year
Penetration testing approach ‘IT Health Check’ performed by a CHECK service provider
Protecting data at rest
  • Physical access control, complying with CSA CCM v3.0
  • Encryption of all physical media
Data sanitisation process Yes
Data sanitisation type Explicit overwriting of storage before reallocation
Equipment disposal approach A third-party destruction service

Data importing and exporting

Data importing and exporting
Data export approach Bud provides an extract in XML format for the ILR funding claim submission to the ESFA's hub.

Bud also provides export capability for applicant, employer, site, learner and funding information in .csv format. This is managed by Bud's security system so users can only export data that they are authorised to access.
Data export formats
  • CSV
  • Other
Other data export formats XML
Data import formats CSV

Data-in-transit protection

Data-in-transit protection
Data protection between buyer and supplier networks TLS (version 1.2 or above)
Data protection within supplier network TLS (version 1.2 or above)

Availability and resilience

Availability and resilience
Guaranteed availability Bud guarantees at least 99% service availability during business hours. Bud provides Service Credits where we fail to deliver minimum availability during a month, proportionate to the monthly fees and discounted from monthly invoicing.
Approach to resilience Bud utilises Azure for all production hosting. Globally redundant storage is utilised as standard as well as Bud-managed nightly and weekly backups held in separate Azure storage accounts
Outage reporting Email alerts: Bud will email the Outage distribution list of customer contacts, and direct them to our updates dashboard. On the updates dashboard information is posted up to restoration. This is held within our online Knowledge Centre portal, hosted through an external platform that sits outside of Bud IT services.

Identity and authentication

Identity and authentication
User authentication needed Yes
User authentication Username or password
Access restrictions in management interfaces and support channels All management access is controlled via Bud's Azure Active Directory. Bud utilise security groups to manage resource access.
Access restriction testing frequency At least once a year
Management access authentication 2-factor authentication

Audit information for users

Audit information for users
Access to user activity audit information You control when users can access audit information
How long user audit data is stored for At least 12 months
Access to supplier activity audit information Users have access to real-time audit information
How long supplier audit data is stored for At least 12 months
How long system logs are stored for At least 12 months

Standards and certifications

Standards and certifications
ISO/IEC 27001 certification No
ISO 28000:2007 certification No
CSA STAR certification Yes
CSA STAR accreditation date 09/05/2018
CSA STAR certification level Level 1: CSA STAR Self-Assessment
What the CSA STAR doesn’t cover None
PCI certification No
Other security certifications Yes
Any other security certifications
  • Cyber Security Essentials
  • Cyber Security Essentials PLUS
  • Bud is working through accreditation to ISO27001 (expected September 2019)

Security governance

Security governance
Named board-level person responsible for service security Yes
Security governance certified Yes
Security governance standards Other
Other security governance standards Cyber Security Essentials PLUS. Information security is a core part of Bud's operational activities where a minimum access approach is always applied.
Information security policies and processes Bud has a comprehensive set of information security policies and processes. These are owned and managed by IT and governed via IT systems (e.g. Mobile Device Management).

Operational security

Operational security
Configuration and change management standard Supplier-defined controls
Configuration and change management approach Our software services are modularised, and continuously enhanced through a well-defined Change Control process. This is controlled through Product Steering meetings involving internal product development, market and customer specialists.

Requested changes are logged for analysis, decisions and prioritisation. This involves engaging internal specialists and customers for feedback. Agreed changes are then Scheduled, Developed, Quality Assured, and Released.

We have a fast-track development route to ensure speedy resolution of Emergency & High importance issues, involving subject matter experts from each Product Development function.

All code changes are pool-requested and peer-reviewed, which includes reviewing for security performance and architecture conformance.
Vulnerability management type Supplier-defined controls
Vulnerability management approach Bud utilises advanced threat detection on Azure, all services are managed services patched by Microsoft. All laptops are required to be on a minimum version of operating systems (enforced with Mobile Device Management). Potential threats are assessed at development time, constantly and via penetration testing.
Protective monitoring type Supplier-defined controls
Protective monitoring approach Bud makes use of Microsoft Azure's advanced auditing and threat detection service. Alerts from the service are automatically raised to the Bud technical team.
Incident management type Supplier-defined controls
Incident management approach Bud has a Data Breach and Incident Management policy outlining processes for managing and reporting on incidents.

Secure development

Secure development
Approach to secure software development best practice Independent review of processes (for example CESG CPA Build Standard, ISO/IEC 27034, ISO/IEC 27001 or CSA CCM v3.0)

Public sector networks

Public sector networks
Connection to public sector networks No


Price £1 to £6 per unit per month
Discount for educational organisations No
Free trial available Yes
Description of free trial Bud's trial version provides access to a standard deployment of a full version of the service for a period of 14 days. Custom configuration and trial periods are available upon request and subject to specific client requirements.

Service documents

pdf document: Pricing document pdf document: Terms and conditions
Service documents
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