Unlike at school, college or on a traditional degree course, an apprenticeship means most of your learning will be through on-the-job training in your place of work. An apprenticeship might be a good option if you like the idea of hands-on learning as well as some classroom-based study.
To be considered for an apprenticeship in Northern Ireland, you must:
- already be in employment, or about to take up paid employment, in Northern Ireland
- be working a minimum of 21 hours per week on a permanent contract
- meet all the entry requirements of your chosen apprenticeship: for some, there are minimum entry requirements, such as GCSEs, and some higher level apprenticeship professions have entry requirements.
There are currently around 170 Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeships, and over 45 higher level apprenticeships to choose from. See how they compare with other qualifications.
You start with the level of apprenticeship that best matches your existing qualifications and experience.
You can either progress from Level 2 to Level 3, or go straight in at Level 3 – depending on your ability and qualifications. It usually takes up to two years to complete one level, and up to four years to finish the two levels – depending on their complexity, and your ability.
|Level 2 – generally considered to be equivalent to five GCSE passes.
|You need to be over 16 years old, and show you have the ability to complete the programme.
|Level 3 – generally considered to be equivalent to two A level passes.
|Some industries may want you who have three or more GCSEs, but other employers don't specify any formal qualifications. Some may ask for previous experience in the industry.
Higher – equivalent to an HNC, a foundation degree, or the first year of an undergraduate degree.
|Entry requirements can include at least five GCSEs grades A – C (9 – 4 on the new grading system), and Level 3 qualifications, including A levels, NVQ/SVQ Level 3, or a BTEC National. Some will expect or require applicants to have subjects related to the particular apprenticeship.
Check apprenticeship vacancies to see if there are any specific subjects and/or grades you need to have.
Liking the sound of an apprenticeship but not sure where to begin looking? Get to know leading brands and the range of apprenticeships they offer. Everything from finance to engineering, and data analysis to project management.