Detailed Instructions for Bulk Upload - now obsolete, divided into separate content items for Courses and Apprenticeships

Bulk upload allows you to easily send all your provision in a single file. The Comma Separated Values (CSV) format used is simply a series of rows and columns, and can be exported from many information management systems, or simply prepared using spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel. Preparing your first bulk upload will take some work, but once you've set it up, it is a simple way to keep all your information up to date.

If you’re a provider only uploading provision run by you, please note that each time you upload, all existing provision will be deleted and replaced with what you’ve uploaded. If you’re uncertain, you can always back up your existing provision using the “Download CSV” function on the Bulk Upload page. This gives you file containing all your provision in bulk upload format that can be uploaded at any time.


If you’re a provider who is a member of one or more Organisations, you can upload provision that you run for that Organisation or promote under that Organisation’s brand. The Opportunity fields OFFERED_BY and DISPLAY_NAME are used for this. OFFERED_BY should be set to the ID of who has the contract with the Agency for this opportunity, and DISPLAY_NAME should be set to what name you wish learners to see on the National Careers Service site. If they are different, you can choose to have both searchable if you wish using BOTH_SEARCHABLE. You can see all Organisation IDs on the Organisations screen.

Note if you do not include any provision for a particular Organisation in an upload file, any existing provision you run for that Organisation will be preserved. Only if at least one opportunity for that Organisation is included will your provision be affected. This also applies if you only upload provision offered by yourself directly – any existing provision for Organisations will be preserved. If you need to delete all your provision for a Organisation or for yourself, please contact the service desk.

If you’re an Organisation superuser, you can upload provision for your member providers in the same way they do (if they have allowed you to do so), except you must preface each bulk upload file with the Provider ID. Click here to download an example. All member Provider IDs can be viewed on the Organisation home screen. You can put one, some or all of your providers in a single file.

Getting started

Step 1: Read the Data Standards & Help Guide

The Data Standards list the name and format of every piece of data used in the Course Directory. Not all fields are mandatory, but the more you supply, the more useful your data will be to learners. The Help Guide contains instructions on how to use Bulk Upload. For fields such as Study Mode, you will need to supply a code rather than the value itself. For example, instead of "Full Time", your file will contain "SM1", A complete list of fields requiring codes and the codes themselves can be found in Appendix 2 of the Help Guide.

Step 2: Understand the file format and create your file

Bulk upload files are in Comma Separated Values (CSV) format with a defined column and section order. You can review a blank example with headers only and an example with test data. This page always has the latest versions. Previous versions may not work. Take careful note of the following:

  • Your file must have four sections in the expected order - Provider, then Venues, then Courses and then Opportunities. If you’re an Organisation superuser, you simply repeat this format prefacing each Provider with their ID. Click here for an example.
  • Headers for each section should read exactly as they are in the template, including the * where it is shown.
  • Each section should have every item of that type: Venues section has ALL venues, Courses section has ALL courses, and so on.
  • Each Venue and Course should have a unique identifier, stored in the VENUE_ID* and COURSE_ID* columns in the relevant section. Neither field is in the Data Standards, and will be discarded after the file is loaded - they're simply to allow successful processing of your file. This may be any identifier you choose. If you’ve already got a unique identifier in your own system, use this; if not, simple numbers will do.
  • To link an OPPORTUNITY to a venue, please put the venue's ID in the VENUE_ID/REGION_NAME column. Alternatively, you may put a town, county or region name in this column. Please see the Help Guide for more information.
  • The column OFFERED_BY is used to indicate who has the contract with the Agency the opportunity is run under – this can be the provider themselves or an Organisation of which the Provider is a member. If this column is left blank, the opportunity is assumed to be offered under the Provider’s direct contract with the Agency.
  • The column DISPLAY_NAME is used to indicate which name the learner will see for this Opportunity. This can be the Provider themselves or an Organisation of which the Provider is a member. If this ID is different to the one in OFFERED_BY, you can further choose whether you want both names searchable by the learners using BOTH_SEARCHABLE.
  • All columns except OFFERED_BY, DISPLAY_NAME and BOTH_SEARCHABLE need to be present in the file (even if they have no data in them) and in the same order as the example files.

Step 3: Save & upload your file

Your file may be named anything, but must have the extension .csv. Once uploaded it will begin processing immediately. The time to process the file will depend on the size of the file, complexity of the information and the time of day.

Step 4: Review errors and re-upload if necessary

If your file contains errors, the entire file will be rejected and no data will be published. You will likely have errors the first time you try an upload, and will likely need several attempts to get it exactly right. The errors are reported on the Provider Portal. The error list is broken down into Provider, Venue, Course and Opportunity errors and where possible a line number is given. You will be sent an email on the same day as the upload if it contains errors. You will not be sent an email the same day if your file is processed successfully without error. You will receive an email overnight to say your data has been published successfully to the Provider Portal and learner websites.

Return to the main bulk upload page.