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What is a Higher Level Apprenticeship?

A Higher Level Apprenticeship is a unique work-based programme, which enables participants to earn while they learn and gain a nationally recognised higher-level qualification. Successful candidates will be employed in a company relevant to their chosen profession to gain valuable experience over a 2 or 3-year period. This experience will feature a close mentoring relationship and academic support provided by North West Regional College as they progress through the relevant higher-level qualification.

The Higher Level Apprenticeship programme is widely recognised as the best combination of on the job training and employee higher level study available. The programme offers employees the opportunity to gain a level 4 / 5 qualification. In addition, the programme aims to improve business practice by developing a progressively skilled workforce essential for today’s competitive economic climate.

North West Regional College has led the way in developing the Higher Level Apprenticeship provision within Northern Ireland based on strong links with academic partners and business.

The College is now offering new programmes in the following areas:

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Accountancy
  • Hospitality and Tourism (with specialisms)
  • Leadership for Children’s Care, Learning and Development
  • General Engineering
  • Electrical and Engineering

Why choose a Higher Level Apprenticeship?

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

HLA Course Subjects

  • The programme provides an alternative route to starting a career in accountancy. This Higher Level Apprenticeship aims to provide applicants with an exciting ‘on the-job’ pathway into the accountancy and finance profession. The main features of the programme are:

    • The apprentice may be selected for employment through the employer’s own recruitment process or will already be employed by an accounting practice/business and moving to a new job role where upskilling is required.

    • The apprentice will attend College one day per week, studying for the professionally accredited Accounting Technicians Ireland (ATI) exams.

    • The apprentice will complete a work based learning e-portfolio of evidence demonstrating competence in a range of areas.

    • The apprentice will be mentored by both a College and employer-based mentor.

    • The Department for the Economy cover all tuition fees and examination costs through their Higher Level Apprenticeship programme.

    Find out more about the HLA accountancy programme

  • Level 4 - In year 1 of the apprenticeship, apprentices undertake study of Engineering Mathematics, which consolidates and builds upon the apprentices understanding and knowledge of mathematics. Students also study the application of science in engineering through study of an Engineering Science module. Apprentices also undertake study of Digital Principles, gaining an understanding of combinational and sequential logic circuits and technologies used to implement digital electronic circuits. Through study of Electrical & Electronic Principles they also gain an understanding of fundamental electrical quantities to evaluate circuits, use of semi conductors in simple devices, and the difference between and applications of digital and analogue electronics. In the 2nd year apprentices undertake study of Electrical & Electronic Circuits and Programmable Logic Controllers. For the former they study the operational characteristics of amplifier circuits, investigate amplifier performance, operation and application of oscillators and testing procedures for electronic devices and circuits. Within the PLC module the apprentices explore design operation of PLC systems, functional safety, automated process system and how PLC exchange information and process signals with other devices.

    Level 5 - This programme enables employees to undertake a Level 5 Foundation Degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering awarded by Ulster University. The programme is delivered part time day release one day and evening per week over three years. This programme will also develop critical thinking and problem solving skills.

    Find out more about the HLA electrical and electronic programme.

  • This programme is widely recognised as the best combination of on the job training and higher level study. The programme enables employees to undertake a Level 5 Foundation Degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management awarded by Ulster University while in employment and working to develop industry related skills and knowledge. Assessment is a combination of coursework and examinations. A number of trips are organised as part of the programme which incur a financialcost to the Student. Mandatory day trips, approximately £40.

    Find out more about the HLA hospitality and tourism programme

  • This course is for senior practitioners in a leadership or management role who work within early years and childcare settings including day nurseries, crèches, playgroups and pre-school settings. The course is also suitable for practitioners who have an opportunity to be appointed into leadership roles within the setting. It is flexible and delivered to meet the individual needs of the busy professional practitioner in partnership with their employer. The employer provides a work based mentor and the College delivers knowledge based units and a work placement assessor who works with each individual apprentice to extend and build on their knowledge and competency at this level. The Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Children’s Care, Learning & Development (Management) NI provides a thorough grounding in the key concepts and practical skills required in the sector. It is delivered over 2 years with classes scheduled weekly. The course aims to provide the apprentices with the skills and knowledge needed to manage practice and lead others in children’s care, learning and development.

    Find out more about the HLA Children's Care, Learning and Development programme

  • This programme enables employees to undertake a Level 5 Foundation Degree in Mechanical Engineering validated by Ulster University.

    Find out more about the HLA Mechanical Engineering programme

HLA Student Experience

Higher Level Apprenticeship

Earn while you learn

Contact Us

For more information on the courses and how to apply contact:

NWRC Skills Development Officer
Tel: 0771 1917 141

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