Who are apprenticeships in Northern Ireland for?

Find out if an apprenticeship in Northern Ireland might be suitable for you.

Apprenticeships are ideal if you have a clear idea of the career you’d like to pursue, and you’re willing to commit to work and study. Unlike in school, at college or on a traditional degree course, the majority of your learning will be through on-the-job training in your place of work.

To be considered for an apprenticeship in Northern Ireland, you need to be:

  • aged 16 years or over (the minimum school leaving age)
  • already employed, or about to take up paid employment in Northern Ireland

Apprenticeships suit someone who:

  • has a clear idea of the career path they want to pursue
  • is willing to commit to further study, but would prefer a more practical and work-related approach to learning
  • is ready to start work, and be based in the workplace most of the time
  • is well organised and able to cope with the competing demands of work and study at the same time
  • is ready to be assessed through a mix of assignments and written work, including essays, reports, practical exercises, end tests, and exams

Apprenticeships aren’t the ‘easy’ option. Securing and holding down a job and studying at the same time takes commitment and hard work, and it won’t be right for everyone. You’ll need to prove yourself in the workplace, while getting to grips with studying for a higher level qualification. You’ll be expected to achieve academically and at work, managing your time and adjusting to longer hours, with fewer holidays than at school, college, or university. You might have to travel or relocate to find the right opportunity for you.


Maisy, software engineering apprentice

The best thing is there are no fees. But it’s also the experience and meeting people; feeling like you’re making a difference and applying your work. You understand business etiquette, and see what you need to put into the workplace. I like the collectiveness and community of the apprenticeship. We have events and then socialise after.

Into Apprenticeships — Guide for disabled people

Disability Rights UK has produced this guide, answering common questions, such as how to find an apprenticeship, whether the training will be accessible, and what support is available in the workplace. There are several inspiring stories written by disabled apprentices about their own experiences and the challenges they faced. It also contains a useful resources section listing further websites, publications, and organisations which can help.

International students

Some employers and training providers may accept applications from international applicants. However, because apprenticeships are primarily focused on the job and employment, any international applicant must be eligible to work in the UK, as well as have the necessary visas, etc. International applicants need to look at the details of each apprenticeship vacancy and contact the university/college and employer to check their eligibility criteria.

Sign up to Career Finder

If you think an apprenticeship could be the right option for you, just head over to Career Finder and create an account. 

You'll be able to : 

  • search for all apprenticeship roles
  • filter by subject area, role type, location, and level of apprenticeship
  • shortlist jobs
  • sign up for alerts
  • keep tabs on applications you've made  
Maisy, software engineering apprentice
Maisy Sinclair is 20 and in her third year of a four-year degree apprenticeship in software engineering, in digital partnership with PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Queen's University Belfast. Find out more about apprenticeships in Northern Ireland.