Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships and Traineeships

From September 2016 South West College will offer new Traineeships at Level 2 and Apprenticeships at Level 3. The Level 2 Traineeships and the Level 3 Apprenticeships are new programmes designed to transform professional and technical education and training in Northern Ireland. They have been developed from international examples of excellence in vocational education and training, are led by employers, and take account of the future skills needs of Northern Ireland’s economy. They are part of a new structure of professional and technical training in Northern Ireland which enables progression from Level 2 (equivalent to GCSE) through Level 3 (equivalent to A-Level) and on to higher apprenticeships at Levels 5 to 8. These programmes will offer opportunities to young people of all abilities and attainments to prepare for the world of work or progression to further learning, building their skills and developing career progression opportunities.


Higher Level Apprenticeships 

A Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) is designed around high value and high skill activities and is currently: An apprenticeship with a targeted qualification between Level 4 (HNC equivalent) to Level 5 (Foundation degree or HND equivalent). Designed to help individuals develop professional and technical skills, as well as gaining recognised higher qualifications while in paid employment. The best combination of on-the-job training whilst at the same time enabling the apprentice to study for a higher level qualification to give you the knowledge businesses need in todays global marketplace. A desirable, cost effective and viable alternative to university education. One of the ways in which employers are now seeking to fill their higher level skills gaps efficiently and effectively by tailoring learning directly to the work place.

Find out more about Higher Level Apprenticeships


Level 2 Traineeships

Traineeships are provided in a wide range of professional and technical areas. A Traineeship is a new Level 2 award equivalent to 5 GCSEs at Grades A*-C. It includes both a professional and technical qualification equivalent to 3 GCSEs at Grades A*-C and Level 2 qualifications in English and Mathematics. On completion of the programme, trainees will have the skills and qualifications needed to succeed in Level 3 Apprenticeships or in employment.

  • Traineeships are designed for young people aged 16-24 who have 4 GCSEs at Grades D-G, including English and Mathematics at Grades D-F, or equivalent qualifications. Those who do not have these qualifications may be considered, depending on aptitude and experience.

  • Traineeships will normally take two years to complete. Those with more GCSEs at higher grades may wish to complete a Level 2 Traineeship in preparation for a Level 3 Apprenticeship, and may be able to do so in a shorter time.

  • All Traineeships have a structured work placement component.

  • Traineeships employ project-based learning and work-based learning to: o develop good professional and technical skills in their subject area, and o enhance work-ready skills needed for success in the workplace, such as confidence, leadership, teamwork, creativity and good communications.

  • Trainees will receive good pastoral care, and effective career information and guidance. Additional support is provided for those with a learning difficulty or disability.

Traineeship Non-employed Route

The non-employed route is open to young people who have not yet secured employment, including those who are as yet undecided about their preferred occupation and career. Those who join the Traineeship non-employed route will avail of the following:

  • £40 per week allowance (not means-tested);

  • £180 bonus on successful completion of each full year of the programme;

  • Assistance with weekly travel costs; and

  • Childcare assistance of up to £165 for one child or up to £240 for two children in registered childcare. Alternatively childcare assistance of up to £70 per week for one child or £100 per week for two children for childcare provided by a relative.

Traineeship Employed Route

Young people who are already employed are also able to access Traineeships, provided their employer supports them to do so and enables them to attend training at agreed times. Those who join the Traineeship employed route will avail of the following:

  • Paid experience in their chosen occupation;

  • The possibility of continued employment with their employer once they have completed their training; and

  • At least the age-appropriate national minimum wage from their employer.

Progression

On successful completion of a Level 2 Traineeship, young people can progress to an Apprenticeship at Level 3 or to other Level 3 Further Education courses. Alternatively, they may go into employment or continue in employment.


Level 3 Apprenticeships

An Apprenticeship is a new Level 3 award equivalent to at least 2 A-levels. Apprenticeships are provided in a wide range of professional and technical areas. Apprenticeships are for employed people and all the training provided is relevant to and developed in the workplace. Apprenticeships have the breadth and depth of knowledge and skills to ensure that those who complete the Apprenticeship at a good standard are able to succeed in Higher Level Apprenticeships, in Higher education, or in employment.

  • Apprenticeships are designed for anyone over the age of 16 who has 5 GCSEs at Grades A*-C, and Level 2 qualifications in English and Mathematics, or equivalent qualifications. Those who do not have these qualifications may be considered, depending on aptitude and experience.

  • Apprenticeships take a minimum of two years to complete.

  • Apprenticeships employ work-based learning as the main way in which young people are qualified for work and for progression to higher levels. They are designed to ensure that students develop strong professional and technical skills in their chosen career, and also the work-ready skills needed for success in the workplace, such as confidence, leadership, teamwork, creativity and good communications. These skills are developed through project-based and workplace activities.

  • Apprentices will receive good pastoral care, and effective career information and guidance. Additional support is provided for those with a learning difficulty or disability.

Benefits of Apprenticeships

Apprentices avail of the following benefits:

  • Paid experience in their chosen occupation;

  • Possibility of continued employment with their employer once they have completed their Apprenticeship; and

  • At least the age-appropriate national minimum wage from their employer.

Progression

On successful completion of a Level 3 Apprenticeship, participants can continue in employment. Apprentices may also progress to a Higher Level Apprenticeship while employed, or to Higher Education (while employed or otherwise).