The Higher Level Apprenticeships programme is part-funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund (ESF) Programme 2014 - 2020 and the Department for the Economy.

DfE Apprenticeships logo

European Social Fund Northern Ireland logo containing text "European Union, European Social Fund, Northern Ireland"A Higher Level Apprenticeship offers people, who have A levels or equivalent, the opportunity to gain quality training and a recognised higher qualification while in paid employment. Higher Level Apprenticeships (HLAs) currently offer qualifications from Level 4 to Level 7 (Masters Degree), with the majority being at Level 5 (Foundation degree).

The length of a Higher Level Apprenticeship will vary depending on the programme chosen, but will be a minimum of two years.


The Higher Level Apprenticeships programme aims to:

  • provide apprentices with a unique way to achieve professional-level qualifications
  • offer quality training combined with employment in partnership between employer, provider and apprentice
  • provide increased opportunities for career progression
  • provide a clear pathway to achieving ambitions in the workplace
  • support employers in filling higher level skills gaps, increase productivity and meeting the skills needs of their business



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