Higher Level Apprenticeships

If you’ve completed A Levels or equivalent, you may be interested in a Higher Level Apprenticeship, which offers the opportunity to gain quality training and a recognised higher qualification while in paid employment.

Higher Level Apprenticeship qualifications

Higher Level Apprenticeships (HLAs) currently offer you qualifications from Level 4 to Level 7 (Masters degree). The majority are at Level 5 (Foundation degree or equivalent).

The length of a Higher Level Apprenticeship will vary depending on the programme you chose, but will be a minimum of two years.

Benefits to apprentices

By taking part in a Higher Level Apprenticeship, you can gain the skills that employers need and that are relevant to the local economy, therefore improving your prospects of good earnings and sustained employment.

Other benefits include:

  • earning while you learn
  • achieving professional-level qualifications without paying higher education tuition fees
  • increased opportunities for career progression
  • a clear pathway to achieving ambitions in the workplace

Benefits to employers

Higher Level Apprenticeships allow employers to train staff to the level needed so they have strong technical and good employability skills.

An apprenticeship can:

  • fill higher level skills gap
  • attract higher calibre staff
  • increase productivity
  • develop existing staff


Opportunities are available for you to gain qualifications from Level 4 upwards if you are a new employee or an existing employee in a new job role. Entry requirements will depend on the apprenticeship pathway.

To take part in the Higher Level Apprenticeship programme you need, as a minimum, to:

  • be employed or be about to take up paid employment as an apprentice, or be an existing employee moving to a new job role, with a Northern Ireland based company
  • work a minimum of 21 hours per week (which includes time for ‘off-the-job’ training)
  • have achieved all necessary entry qualifications determined by the relevant sector
  • pass any entry tests specified by the relevant sector
  • be the minimum school leaving age in Northern Ireland



Posted on

April 25, 2021

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