Apprenticeships explained for employers

Apprenticeships in Northern Ireland is a work-based programme designed around the needs of employers. It offers recognised training and qualifications to new and existing employees aged 16 and over, across a wide range of apprenticeships at Level 2 and Level 3. Funding is available. Terms and conditions apply if the apprentice is 25 years and over. Framework provision is subject to confirmation.

Apprenticeships 25+ Frameworks on the nidirect website.

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.

Apprenticeships in Northern Ireland: a guide for employers.

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 employed or be about to take up paid employment as an apprentice with a Northern Ireland based company
  • be working 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. The 'off-the-job' training will start on or after 4 September. The list of ApprenticeshipsNI training contractors has been updated – Apprenticeships training contractors.

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 devised by industry bodies together with the Sector Skills Councils and are therefore tailored to ensure they meet the needs of your industry.

Apprenticeships qualifications explained for employers.

What is a training contractor?

A number of training contractors across Northern Ireland will be contracted to deliver training in a variety of apprenticeships. There are around 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 lists of Higher Level Apprenticeships training contractors and includes contact details and training offered in your area.

The list of ApprenticeshipsNI training contractors has been updated – Apprenticeship training contractors.

Higher Level Apprenticeships Training Contractors on the nidirect website.

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. The list of Specialist support providers is also being updated – a refreshed list will be available in Summer 2017.

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