Apprenticeships: delivering work-based training and qualifications to employees
Getting an apprentice started
The Department for the Economy (DfE) has made a number of financial support schemes available to Northern Ireland employers to retain existing apprentices and also recruit new apprentices.
Find out about the guidance and temporary measures for employers that DfE is making to its apprenticeship programmes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
You may already have a potential apprentice in mind or on your workforce. If not there are various methods of finding one.
Finding an apprentice
If you don't have a potential apprentice but would like to employ one, it is really like recruiting any other employee. For example you can:
- advertise apprenticeship opportunities on Connect to Success NI
- contact your local Jobs and Benefits Offices or JobCentres website
- place a vacancy on Employers Online NI website
- Place a vacancy on JobCentre Online NI
- place an advertisement in the newspapers
- contact a training contractor/provider in your area who delivers training in the relevant occupational area, as they may be aware of potential employees
- look to your own staff - an existing employee is eligible for the ApprenticeshipsNI or Higher Level Apprenticeship programme if their new role requires substantial training and development
Advertise apprenticeship opportunities online
Connect to Success NI is a free online resource developed by the Department for the Economy that enables employers to promote and advertise apprenticeship and school work experience opportunities.
You have your apprentice, what next?
Once you have identified your apprentice and they have agreed to take part in one of the Apprenticeship programmes, simply contact an ApprenticeshipsNI contractor or a Higher Level Apprenticeship training provider who has been approved to deliver the relevant apprenticeship training in your area.
The training contractor/provider will meet with you and your apprentice to discuss their training needs and will then develop a personal training programme. They will register your apprentice on the programme and ensure they are registered for any qualifications required as part of their framework. They will be with your apprentice every step of the way throughout the apprenticeship to support them and ensure they are making progress.
A useful search facility is available on the Department for the Economy (DfE) website to find a suitable training contractor in your local area to deliver Level 2 and Level 3 ApprenticeshipsNI training:
A list of training providers for Higher Level Apprenticeships is also available on the nidirect website:
Is additional support needed?
If additional support is needed for your apprentice during their time on the directed training element of the programme. As the apprentices are in employment when they start on the programme the Disability Discrimination Act applies making it illegal for employers to subject disabled job-seekers and employees to disability discrimination. This includes failing to comply with the important duty to make reasonable adjustments and subjecting disabled people to disability-related harassment.
There are programmes available through the Department for Communities to support people into and to sustain work and these can be put in place for any eligible apprentice. See work schemes and programmes for people with disabilities.
For example if they have a disability, your training contractor will organise this for you with one of the specially trained Disability Support Services (DSS) contractors approved by DfE. A list of the current DSS contractors is available on the following page:
If Apprenticeships are not suitable for your business, why not check out some other employment and training programmes, such as:
- Training for Success on the nidirect website
- Bridge to Employment for Employers on the Department for the Economy website
More useful links
Apprenticeships Helpline0300 200 7820