There are apprenticeships for over 1,500 job roles — allowing you to enter careers in anything from engineering to boat building. Here you will find everything you need to know about exploring your options, and how to search and apply for an apprenticeship.
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 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.
- Level 2 apprenticeships
- Level 3 apprenticeships
- Higher level apprenticeship
- In addition, there are Level 2 and Level 3 frameworks for those aged 25 and over.
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.||Applicants need to be over 16 years old, and show they have the ability to complete the programme.|
|Level 3 – generally considered to be equivalent to two A level passes.||Some industries want apprentices 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.|
|For those aged over 25||There are restrictions on the type of apprenticeship with funding available.|
Check apprenticeship vacancies to see if there are any specific subjects and/or grades you need to have.
- Visit nidirect for apprenticeships opportunities.
- View a list of further education colleges and higher education providers offering higher level apprenticeships.
- If you're unsure about which apprenticeship you want to follow, or need more information, contact the NI apprenticeships helpline.
- Into apprenticeships — guide for Disabled people. Disability Rights UK has produced a guide, answering common questions, such as how to find an apprenticeship, whether the training will be accessible, and the support available in the workplace. There are several inspiring stories written by disabled apprentices about their experiences, and the challenges they've faced. The guide also contains a useful resources section listing further websites, publications, and organisations which can help.
Sign up to Career Finder
If you think an apprenticeship could be right for you, 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