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Apprenticeships NI

Do you want to re-energise your business? Discover fresh talent and hire an apprentice!

Time to Re-energise your business written on blue

Discover fresh talent and meet your business needs by employing an apprentice. It is like recruiting any other employee or you can also start an existing employee on an apprenticeship. An apprentice is in paid employment from day one. If your apprentice successfully completes a Level 2 or 3 framework, you will receive an employer incentive payment.


Apprenticeships at a Glance

An apprenticeship 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. You are required to pay your apprentice National Minimum Wage. The rest of the training is provided 'off-the-job', one day a week. This training is provided by a training provider. For apprentices aged 16-24, the off-the-job training is fully funded by the Department for the Economy. For apprentices over 25, 50% of the training costs are covered.   

Apprenticeship Eligibility

  • be the minimum school leaving age in Northern Ireland
  • be about to take up paid employment as an apprentice with a Northern Ireland based company, or be an existing employee in a Northern Ireland based company who is about to undertake a new role that requires significant training and development
  • employed by national companies that have operations in Northern Ireland who are employed at least 50 per cent of their time in Northern Ireland and completing their director training in Northern Ireland with an approved training contractor
  • be permanently contracted to work 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)

ApprenticeshipsNI Programme

The ApprenticeshipsNI programme offers two frameworks, a level 2 apprenticeship and a level 3 apprenticeship. The framework level your apprentice will undertake depends on a range of factors including their previous experience, their current level of skills, previous qualifications they have achieved, and of course the level of development they require to competently fulfil their new role in your business. 

Level 2 frameworks

Level 3 frameworks

Higher Level Apprenticeships

Higher Level Apprenticeships currently offer qualifications from Level 4 up to Level 7. The majority are at Level 5 (Foundation Degree) with some offering Level 6 (Honours Degree) and Level 7 (Masters Degree). There are currently over 40 Higher Level Apprenticeships to choose from, ranging from computer science, motor vehicle, mechanical engineering, life sciences and accountancy. 

Higher Level frameworks

Employer Incentive Payments

Under the ApprenticeshipsNI programme an Employer Incentive Payment is available for employers whose apprentice successfully completes their full Level 2 or Level 3 apprenticeships framework. This incentive ranges from £250 to £1,500, depending on the complexity and level of the apprenticeship undertaken and the age of the apprentice on joining the programme. You will receive the payment upon the successful completion of your employee’s apprenticeship framework.

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.

You can advertise an apprenticeship opportunity on Connect to Success NI. This is a free online system developed by the Department for the Economy to promote and advertise apprenticeship and school work experience opportunities to citizens.

You could also:

  • place an advertisement in a newspaper
  • contact your local training provider
  • advertise online and on social media
  • contact your local Jobs and Benefits Office

Local Training Provider

South Eastern Regional College (SERC) is the training provider in the Ards and North Down area. An adviser at SERC will be able to help you find the right framework for your apprentice, provide the off-the-job training for your apprentice and if you don't have an individual in mind for an apprenticeship, they can help you find one! 

Contact Details

Apprenticeships Helpline

0300 200 7820


028 9127 6827