Apprenticeships explained for employers

ApprenticeshipsNI is a work-based programme designed around the needs of employers that offers recognised training and qualifications to new and existing employees taking on new roles that require lots of training and development. The programme offers a wide range of apprenticeships at Level 2 and Level 3.

Opportunities are also available through the Higher Level Apprenticeships pilot project for new employees or existing employees in a new job role wishing to gain qualifications from Level 4 to Level 8.

Who is eligible to take part in Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships are open to both existing and new employees working within a Northern Ireland based company.

Your apprentice needs to:

  • be the minimum school leaving age in Northern Ireland
  • be about to take up paid employment as an apprentice with a Northern Ireland based company, or be an existing employee in a Northern Ireland based company who is about to undertake a new role that required significant training and development
  • be permanently contracted to work a minimum of 21 hours per week (which includes time for 'off-the-job' training)
  • meet the entry requirements of their chosen occupation; some apprenticeships require, for example, General Certificates of Secondary Education (GCSEs)

Apprenticeship training

As apprenticeships is a work-based training programme, most of the training is 'on-the-job' with you as the employer. This is usually four days a week. The rest is provided 'off-the-job', one day a week.

All of the Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeship qualifications are set out in a framework and are available at Levels 2 and 3. They have been developed in liaison with industry representatives and are therefore tailored to ensure they meet the needs of your industry. Further information is available at:

What is a training contractor?

A number of training contractors across Northern Ireland have been contracted to deliver training in a variety of apprenticeships. There are over 170 Level 2 or Level 3 apprenticeship frameworks and over 30 pilot Higher Level Apprenticeships to choose from.

A training contractor will help your apprentice achieve the qualifications and teach them the knowledge and skills to complement what they learn from you.

The training contractor will meet with you and your apprentice to discuss their training needs and will then develop a training programme with them. They will be with your apprentice every step of the way throughout the apprenticeship to support them and ensure that are making progress.

The following links provide a tool to search for training contractors for Level 2 and Level 3 ApprenticeshipsNI frameworks, and a list of Higher Level Apprenticeships training contractors including contact details and training offered in your area.

What if your apprentice needs additional support?

If additional support is needed for your apprentice during their time on the programme, for example, if they have a disability, your training contractor will organise this for you with specially trained support providers. They will work closely together on behalf of your apprentice, so that he or she can benefit fully from the training programme.

Organisation Point Of Contact Address Contact Details
Disability Action Laura McCartney Portside Business Park
189 Airport Road
Tel. 028 9029 7880
Fax 028 9029 7881
Sensory Learning Support James Somerville 85 Jordanstown Road
BT37 0QE
Tel. 028 9086 3541
Mob. 078 3751 6686
The Cedar Foundation Kieran Molloy 1a Woodside Road Industrial Estate
Woodside Road
BT42 4QJ
Tel. 028 2565 9111
Ulster Supported Employment Ltd. (USEL) Arthur Savage

182-188 Cambrai Street
BT13 3JH

Tel. 028 9035 6600
Fax. 028 9035 6611
Mob. 077 3934 8817

Clanrye Group Ltd Liam Devine Slieve Gullion
Forest Park
89 Dromintee Road
BT35 8SW
Tel. 028 3084 9220

More Useful links