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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:

  • Accountancy
  • Business and Enterprise
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • General Engineering
  • Hospitality and Tourism Management
  • Leadership for Children’s care, Learning and Development
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Software Development

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

Programmes we offer

Upon completion you will have gained a Foundation Degree (Level 5) qualification and two to three years industry experience in your chosen field.


  • Higher Level Apprenticeship (Level 5) in Accountancy

    This programme enables employees to undertake a Level 5 Diploma For Accounting Technicians. This is a two year employment focused training and education programme.

    The programme is divided into four modules per year with an additional work practice module also to be completed each year. Exams for the modules are invigilated online exams in June each year.

    The programme is delivered part-time day release one day each week with the other 4 days working with a Northern Irish employer. Graduates benefit from formal workplace and academic mentoring, with two years’ work experience gained in a real business environment, whilst gaining highly transferable skills.

    The course is open to those looking for a career change, school-leavers, recent graduates and mature learners in Northern Ireland exploring a career in accounting through applied learning. It is also open to current employees with a Northern Ireland based company, moving into a new job role and who wish to upskill.

    Find out more about the HLA Accountancy programme


  • Higher Level Apprenticeship (Level 5) in Business and Enterprise

    This programme enables employees to undertake a Level 5 Foundation Degree in Business and Enterprise validated by Ulster University whilst remaining in employment. The programme is delivered part time day release 2 days each week over 3 years.

    This innovative course, developed based on industry needs, will give you the opportunity to develop business and enterprise knowledge and skills and employment experience. A key feature of this course is the work-based learning which provides the opportunity to work in a company on a ‘live’ project. Knowledge and skills will be gained through activities and application to ‘real world’ business issues and opportunities.

    Practical aspects of people management, marketing, on-line business, entrepreneurship, and finance will feature strongly in related modules.

    Find out more about the HLA Business and Enterprise programme


  • Higher Level Apprenticeship (Level 4) in Advanced Technician in Engineering - Electrical and Electronic Engineering

    This course will enable students to gain an understanding of the fundamental electrical quantities and see how the modern electronic world functions.

    Undertaking an Engineering project in Year 2 helps consolidate all the knowledge a student has amassed during the course. The course is designed to prepare students for a range of technical and management careers in Electrical & Electronic engineering and will provide specialised studies which are directly relevant to individual vocations and professions in the workplace.

    The importance of engineering qualifications and training has been recognised by Government, and the Advanced Manufacturing Industry has been identified by the MATRIX Panel has a key area for economic growth.

    Find out more about the HLA Electrical and Electronic Engineering programme


  • Higher Level Apprenticeship (Level 4) in Advanced Technician in Engineering –
    General Engineering

    The apprenticeship delivery model consists of 1 day release (off-the-job) to attend NWRC over 34 weeks and 4 days within the workplace (on-the-job learning). The apprenticeship is completed over 2 years and the technical qualification element is a HNC General Engineering, credit value of 120. In addition, an optional Level 3 Mathematics module will be delivered in Year 1 for those apprentices who require consolidation in the understanding of mathematics.

    The importance of engineering qualifications and training has been recognised by Government and the Advanced Manufacturing Industry has been identified by the MATRIX Panel has a key area for economic growth.



  • Higher Level Apprenticeship (Level 4) in Hospitality and Tourism Management

    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 class-based assessments. A number of trips are organised as part of the programme which incur a financial cost to the student. Mandatory day trips, approximately £40.

    Please note, you must upload a CV and personal statement in support of your application.

    Find out more about the HLA Hospitality and Tourism Management programme


  • Higher Level Apprenticeship (Level 5) in Leadership for Children's Care, Learning and Development

    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 is accredited by CACHE and 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.

    Please note you must upload a CV and personal statement in support of your application.

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


  • Higher Level Apprenticeship (Level 5) in Mechanical Engineering

    This programme enables employees to undertake a Level 5 Foundation Degree in Mechanical Engineering validated 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 Mechanical Engineering programme


  • Higher Level Apprenticeship (Level 5) in Software Development

    This programme enables employees to undertake a Level 5 Foundation Degree in Software Development validated by Ulster University whilst remaining in employment. The programme is delivered part time day release one day each week over 3 years. The final year incorporates a Work based Learning module worth 40 credits. Assessment is a combination of coursework and examinations.

    Please note you must upload a CV and personal statement in support of your application.

    Find out more about the HLA Software Development programme

  • Image of Rebekah Glen (Accountancy)
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    I applied for a Higher Level Apprenticeship as it was a great opportunity to gain work experience and get paid while studying towards a professional qualification.
    Rebekah Glen (Accountancy)

Start your career with a real job

Apply for one of our Higher Level Apprenticeships and earn while you learn. Get paid, get qualified, get ahead.

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