Apprenticeships

Higher Level 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 7 (Masters degree). The majority are at Level 5 (Foundation degree or equivalent).

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

Eligibility

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, as a minimum, to:

  • be employed or be about to take up paid employment as an apprentice, or be an existing employee moving to a new job role, with a Northern Ireland based company
  • work a minimum of 21 hours per week (which includes time for ‘off-the-job’ training)
  • have achieved all necessary entry qualifications determined by the relevant sector
  • pass any entry tests specified by the relevant sector
  • be the minimum school leaving age in Northern Ireland

Higher Level Apprenticeships available

Higher Level Apprenticeships are available through the Further Education colleges and universities in Northern Ireland, in over 20 occupational areas including:

  • ICT
  • Professional Services
  • Engineering
  • Life Sciences
  • Accountancy
  • Health Care

See details below of qualifications available per sector and where they’re available.

Agri-food manufacture

  • Food and drink manufacture - Foundation degree (FDSc) in food and drink manufacture – College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE)

Built environment

  • BIM project management – MSc Building information modelling project management – Queens University Belfast (QUB)
  • Building services with sustainable energy – Foundation degree in building services with sustainable energy – South West College (SWC)
  • Construction - Higher National Certificate (HNC) in construction and the built environment – Northern Regional College (Northern), South Eastern Regional College (SERC)
  • Construction- building services - HNC in construction and the built environment - building services engineering – SERC
  • Construction – civil engineering - HNC in construction and the built environment -civil engineering Northern, SERC
  • Construction engineering and management – BSc (Hons) construction engineering & management – Ulster University (UU)
  • Construction engineering with surveying - Foundation degree (FdSc) in construction engineering with surveying South West College (SWC) Northern
  • Construction- surveying  - HNC in construction and the built environment - surveying – SERC, Northern
  • Construction Engineering -  Foundation degree in construction engineering with surveying - Northern
  • Construction and project management - MSc in construction project management – QUB
  • Digital construction - Foundation degree (FDSc) digital construction – Southern Regional College (SRC)
  • Energy, environment, sustainability - Foundation degree in energy, environment and sustainability – SWC
  • Quantity surveying – BSc (Hons) quantity surveying and commercial management – part time – UU

Business and administration

  • Business management - Foundation degree in business management – SWC
  • Business in technology (MBT) - MSc business and technology –UU
  • Designing and leading customer experience - Bsc (Hons) managing the customer contact – UU
  • Global capital markets - MSc global capital markets – UU

Childcare and youth work

  • Children's care, learning and development - Council for awards in care, health and education (CACHE) diploma in leadership for children’s care, learning and development – SERC
  • Children's care, learning and development -City and Guilds diploma in leadership for children's care, learning and development – North West Regional College (NWRC)
  • Leadership for children's care, learning and development (management) – Level 5 diploma in leadership for children's care, learning and development (management) Wales and Northern Ireland – Belfast Metropolitan College (BMC)

Civil engineering

  • Civil engineering- Foundation degree (FdEng) civil engineering – BMC
  • Civil Engineering, (Accelerated Mode Part-time ) – Foundation degree (FdEng) civil engineering (with CertHE exit award) – SWC
  • Civil Engineering, (Part-time) Foundation degree (FdEng) civil engineering (with CertHE exit award) – SWC
  • Civil engineering- BEng (Hons) civil engineering – UU

Engineering and manufacturing

  • Advanced manufacturing - Foundation degree in electrical and electronic engineering – Northern
  • Advanced manufacturing - Foundation degree in mechanical and manufacturing engineering – Northern
  • Electrical and electronic engineering - Foundation degree in electrical and electronic engineering –NWRC
  • Manufacturing engineering (accelerated mode 2.5 years) - Foundation degree in engineering, with specialisms in manufacturing – SWC
  • Manufacturing engineering (part-time three years) -Foundation degree in engineering, with specialisms in manufacturing  – SWC
  • Mechanical engineering - Foundation degree in mechanical engineering – NWRC
  • Mechatronic Engineering - Foundation degree in mechatronic engineering – SERC, SRC
  • Mechatronic engineering (accelerated mode 2.5 years) - Foundation degree in engineering (with specialisms) - mechatronics  – SWC
  • Mechatronic engineering (part-time three years) - Foundation degree in engineering (with specialisms) - mechatronics - SWC

Finance and accounting

  • Accountancy - Accounting Technicians Ireland (ATI) certificate/ diploma for accounting technicians – BMC, Northern, NWRC, SERC, SRC, SWC
  • Financial technology – BSc Hons financial technology – UUU

Hospitality and events

  • Culinary arts management - Foundation degree (FdSc) in hospitality and tourism management with specialisms (Culinary Arts) – SERC
  • Hospitality management – Foundation degree in hospitality and tourism management with specialisms- SERC
  • Hospitality and tourism management with specialisms – hospitality - Foundation degree (FdSc) hospitality and tourism management with specialisms – NWRC, SRC
  • Hospitality and tourism management with specialisms- Foundation degree (FdSc) hospitality and tourism management - BMC
  • Hospitality and tourism management with specialisms- travel and tourism - FdSc hospitality and tourism management with specialisms  - NWRC

ICT and digital

  • Computing- Foundation degree (FdSc) in computing – Northern, SWC, SERC
  • Computing infrastructure - Foundation degree in computing infrastructure – SRC
  • Computing systems - BSc (Hons) computing systems – UU
  • Cyber security and networking infrastructure - Foundation degree in cyber security and networking infrastructure – BMC
  • Digital marketing, advertising and communication- Foundation degree in digital marketing, advertising and communication- SRC
  • Software cloud and application development - Foundation degree in cloud and application development – BMC
  • Software development - Foundation degree in software development – NWRC
  • Software engineering with digital technology partnership - BEng software engineering/ BEng Hon computer science – QUB

Life and health science

  • Applied industrial science (chemical science) - Foundation degree in applied industrial science (chemical science) – SRC
  • Applied industrial science (life science) - Foundation degree in applied industrial science (life science) – SRC
  • Applied industrial science - BSc(Hons) applied pharmaceutical sciences  - UU
  • Health and social care (adult management)- NCFE CACHE Level 5 diploma in leadership for health and social care services Northern Ireland – SERC
  • Health and social care (residential management)- NCFE CACHE Level 5 diploma in leadership for health and social care services Northern Ireland – SERC
  • Pharmaceutical Analysis - MSc pharmaceutical analysis – QUB

More information

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:

More useful links

Apprenticeship frameworks

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