Higher Level Apprenticeships

Part of: Types of apprenticeships

If you've completed A Levels or equivalent, you may be interested in a Higher Level Apprenticeship, which offers the opportunity to gain quality training and a recognised higher qualification while in paid employment.

Higher Level Apprenticeship qualifications

Higher Level Apprenticeships (HLAs) currently offer you qualifications from Level 4 to Level 6 (Honours degree). The majority are at Level 5 (Foundation degree).

The length of a Higher Level Apprenticeship will vary depending on the programme you chose, but will be a minimum of two years.

Benefits to apprentices

By taking part in a Higher Level Apprenticeship, you can gain the skills that employers need and that are relevant to the local economy, therefore improving your prospects of good earnings and sustained employment.

Other benefits include:

  • earning while you learn
  • achieving professional-level qualifications without paying higher education tuition fees
  • increased opportunities for career progression
  • a clear pathway to achieving ambitions in the workplace

Benefits to employers

Higher Level Apprenticeships allow employers to train staff to the level needed so they have strong technical and good employability skills.

An apprenticeship can:

  • fill higher level skills gap
  • attract higher calibre staff
  • increase productivity
  • develop existing staff


Opportunities are available for you to gain qualifications from Level 4 upwards if you are a new employee or an existing employee in a new job role. Entry requirements will depend on the apprenticeship pathway.

To take part in the Higher Level Apprenticeship programme you need to:

  • be employed or be about to take up paid employment as an apprentice with a Northern Ireland based company
  • work a minimum of 21 hours per week (which includes time for ‘off-the-job’ training)
  • meet the entry requirements of your chosen occupation
  • be the minimum school leaving age in Northern Ireland

Higher Level Apprenticeships available

Higher Level Apprenticeships are available through the colleges and universities below.

College titles and abbreviations

Currently, Higher Level Apprenticeships are available in over 20 occupational areas including ICT, Professional Services, Engineering, Life Sciences, Accountancy and Health Care. See below for full details.

Sector Title College / University Qualification
Built Environment Civil and Environmental Engineering


Foundation degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering

  Civil Engineering




Foundation degree in Civil Engineering

BEng (Hons) /MEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering

  Gas Management SERC LOGIC Certificate in Gas Safety Management
  Renewables and Sustainable Technologies SWC

Foundation degree /BSc in Energy Environment and Sustainability

Foundation degree in Architectural Engineering and Energy

  Sustainable Construction SWC Foundation degree in Science in Construction Engineering with Surveying
Business and Professional Services Business Technology UU BSc(Hons Business Technology
Childcare and Youth Work Children's Care, Learning and Development SERC Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education (CACHE) Diploma in Leadership for Children’s Care, Learning and Development
Engineering and Manufacturing Advanced Manufacturing - Electrical and Electronic Engineering Northern Foundation degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  Advanced Manufacturing - Electrical and Electronic Engineering Northern Foundation degree in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
  Electrical and Electronic Engineering NWRC Foundation degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  Engineering - Manufacturing / Mechatronics SWC

Foundation degree in Manufacturing Engineering

Foundation degree in Mechatronic Engineering 

  Food and Drink Manufacture CAFRE Foundation degree in food and drink manufacture
  Mechanical Engineering NWRC Foundation degree in Mechanical Engineering
  Mechatronics SERC, SRC Foundation degree in Mechatronic Engineering
Financial and Accounting Accountancy


Accounting Technicians Ireland (ATI) Certificate/Diploma for Accounting Technicians 

  Accounting and Management UU BSc (Hons) Accounting and Management
Health and Social Care  Adult Nursing OU BSc(Hons) Adult Nursing
Hospitality, Events and Tourism International Hospitality and Tourism Management NWRC Foundation degree in International Hospitality and Tourism Management
ICT and Digital Computing


Foundation degree in computing

BSc(Hons) Computing Systems

  Computing Infrastructure BMC
Foundation degree in Computing Infrastructure
  Cyber security QUB MSc Applied Cyber Security
  Cyber security and networking infrastructure BMC Foundation degree in cyber security and networking infrastructure
  Software Development NWRC Foundation degree in Software Development 
  Software Engineering BMC Foundation degree in Software Engineering
  Software engineering with digital technology partnership QUB BEng Software Engineering
Life and Industrial Science Applied Industrial Science (Chemical Science) SRC Foundation Degree in Applied Industrial Science (Chemical Science)
  Applied Industrial Science (Life Science) SRC Foundation degree in Applied Industrial Science (Life Science)
  Applied Pharmaceutical Science UU BSc(Hons) Applied Pharmaceutical Sciences
  Pharmaceutical Analysis QUB MSc Pharmaceutical Analysis
Motor Vehicle Automotive Management SERC Institute of Motor Industry (IMI) Diploma in Automotive Management
Sales and Digital Marketing Digital Marketing BMC City and Guilds Diploma in Digital Marketing

If you're interested in doing a Higher Level Apprenticeship, contact the relevant Further Education college or University for further information.

If you're  not sure about which apprenticeship you want to follow, or want more information on what the Apprenticeships programme can do for you, contact the helpline:

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