Guide

Apprenticeships: delivering work-based training and qualifications to employees

Are you an employer who wants to take on an apprentice or develop the skills of your employees to help your business work better? Apprenticeships could be for you.

Apprenticeships explained for employers

ApprenticeshipsNI is a work-based programme designed around the needs of employers that offers recognised training and qualifications to new employees and existing employees taking on new roles that require lots of training and development. The programme offers a wide range of apprenticeships frameworks at Level 2 and Level 3 and is available to individuals aged 16 and over, although some restrictions apply to apprentices aged 25 and over.

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 7.

Apprenticeships qualifications explained

An apprenticeship can give your employee the training and qualifications they need to get ahead and meet your business needs. The qualifications that need to be completed as part of a Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeship are set out in a framework. They have been devised by industry bodies and are therefore tailored to ensure they meet the needs of your industry. You can view and download copies of all current ApprenticeshipsNI frameworks at:

Benefits to me and my business

Apprenticeships can help all types of businesses across a wide range of sectors to harness fresh new talent. They can help equip your workforce with the practical skills and qualifications that your organisation needs now and in the future and you will enjoy the benefits of having a loyal and motivated workforce that you have trained to meet your own specific business requirements. Many employers have reported that by employing apprentices they have seen a growth and improvement in productivity in their businesses. There is also a real sense of contributing to the skills need of the Northern Ireland economy.

Funding for Apprenticeships

Funding for the directed (or 'off-the -job') training element of Level 2, Level 3 and Higher Level Apprenticeships at Level 4 and Level 5 is provided through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund (ESF) Programme 2014-2020 and the Department for the Economy (DfE).

An incentive payment is available for employers whose employees successfully complete their Level 2 and/or Level 3 ApprenticeshipsNI full framework.

Higher Level Apprenticeship pilots do not currently offer a financial incentive for employers however the other non-financial incentives for employing an apprentice apply.

What local companies say about Apprenticeships

Many Northern Ireland companies have successfully employed and trained their apprentices through the Apprenticeships programme and their businesses have reaped the benefits.

Getting an apprentice started on an Apprenticeship

You may already have a potential apprentice on your workforce. If not and you want to employ one, it is really 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 in your area. Your chosen training contractor/provider will explain in more detail what is involved from the perspective of both you and your apprentice. To find an appropriate training contractor for ApprenticeshipsNI please use the search facility avilable on the nidirect website at the link below:

A full list of Higher Level Apprenticeships programmes and providers can be found at the following link below:

The contracted training provider will meet the apprentice and the employer to discuss their training needs and will then develop a training programme tailored to their need.

Advertise apprenticeship 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.