Apprenticeships qualifications explained for employers

An apprenticeship can give your employee the training and qualifications they need to get ahead and meet your business needs. The qualifications for Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeships are set out in a framework devised by Sector Skills Councils/Standard Setting Bodies and are therefore tailored to ensure they meet the needs of your industry. Framework provision is subject to confirmation.

Terms and conditions apply if you are 25 years and over.

Level 2 and 3 Apprenticeships qualifications

No matter what apprenticeship they choose, your apprentice must complete a Level 2 and/or Level 3 apprenticeship qualification.

Level 2 is the first level and the one that most new apprentices choose.

In respect of Level 3, they can either progress from Level 2 to Level 3 or go straight in at this higher level, depending on their ability and the qualifications they already have.

Level 3 requires higher level qualifications to be achieved.

Apprenticeships explained for employers.

Higher Level Apprenticeships qualifications

Higher Level Apprenticeships currently offer qualifications from Level 4 up to Level 6. The majority are at Level 5 (Foundation Degree) with some offering Level 6 (Honours Degree). Higher Level Apprenticeships may be available in the future at Level 7 and 8 (Post Graduate Awards).

The qualifications required will depend on the level of apprenticeship being followed. Some apprenticeships require, for example, General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSEs) in order to be eligible to undertake the apprenticeship.

How long does it take to complete an apprenticeship?

It usually takes up to two years to complete one level and up to four years to complete the two levels at Levels 2 and 3 depending on their complexity; however they can be completed more quickly depending on the ability of the apprentice.

Higher Level Apprenticeships may vary depending on their complexity however they should take a minimum of 2 years to complete.

The apprenticeship framework

The apprenticeship framework sets out the Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications that must be completed and the standard that must be achieved by the apprentice in order to qualify and achieve their Apprenticeships certificate.

There are around 170 Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeships and over 30 pilot Higher Level Apprenticeships to choose from ranging from computer science, motor vehicle, mechanical engineering and retail. For some there are minimum entry requirements, for example, GCSEs. Your chosen training supplier can advise you and your apprentice on this.

If the chosen apprenticeship is not on the framework lists below then it is not available through the Level 2 and Level 3 Apprenticeships. There may be further apprenticeships added in the future.

Recruitment to the ApprenticeshipsNI programme will commence on 4 September 2017. It is anticipated that this is the date that the Apprentice can start on the programme. An employer is free to recruit an Apprentice in advance of that date, however the 'off –the-job' training element cannot commence until after this date.

Note: the apprenticeship framework does not apply to Higher Level Apprenticeships.

Framework provision is subject to confirmation.

More useful links

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