Finding out about apprenticeships

25 Apr 2022 Sandra Bailie    Last updated: 27 Apr 2022

Have you ever considered taking on an apprentice? Would you like to find out more about it and how it could benefit your organisation

Taking on an apprentice is a great way to discover fresh talent and thinking to meet your organisation's needs and as well as providing the opportunity for you and them to learn. Employing an apprentice is like recruiting any other employee.

An apprentice is in paid employment from day one. National Minimum Wage rates for apprentices apply. It usually takes between two and four years to complete depending on the type of apprenticeship. The length of a Higher Level Apprenticeship will vary depending on the programme you choose, but will be a minimum of two years.

During this time you will share your expertise and knowledge by providing mentoring and "on the job" training. Your apprentice participates in "off the job" training (usually one day per week) to achieve the relevant industry qualifications and requirements which will be delivered by your chosen training contractor.

Types of Apprenticeships

There are two apprenticeship programmes funded by the Department for the Economy (DfE):

ApprenticeshipsNI - Level 2 and 3 - available to individuals 16 and over, eligibility restrictions apply to individuals aged 25 and over

Higher Level Apprenticeships (HLAs) - Level 4 to Level 7 - HLAs are not subject to age eligibility restrictions 

Apprenticeships are available in a wide range of occupational areas to support your business needs. Currently, there are around 150 ApprenticeshipsNI frameworks and over 45 HLA frameworks to choose from. 

Getting started

You may already have a potential apprentice in your workforce. If not and you want to employ one, it is like recruiting any other employee. The next step is to find a training contractor/provider who has been approved to deliver ApprenticeshipsNI or Higher Level Apprenticeship training. You can find out more here 

You can advertise your opportunities online. Connect to Success NI is a free online portal developed by the Department for the Economy that enables employers to promote and advertise apprenticeship and school work experience opportunities.

Mentor Connect

Mentor Connect is a package of resources and information for apprentices and employers which provides support and an understanding of how apprenticeships work for everyone involved, developed by Belfast Met. There are three elements to it: The apprentice, the mentor and the employer. The employer toolkit contains useful information on the benefits and the employers' responsibilities and how the local FE college can support you.

Additional information and Resources

Employer advice leaflet.

Apprenticeships explained to employers

Finance and Funding for apprenticeships

If you are interested in finding out more please contact Sandra Bailie's picture
by Sandra Bailie

Head of Organisational Development

[email protected]

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