The purpose of Sectoral Partnerships is to review and develop the content of all youth traineeship and apprenticeship frameworks from level two to level eight to ensure that all those involved in training are industry ready.

Sectoral Partnerships were introduced in 2016 following commitments made in Securing our Success: The Northern Ireland Strategy on Apprenticeships (2014) and Generating our Success: Youth Training Strategy future of Traineeships (2015). 

Sectoral Partnership membership

Each Sectoral Partnership is comprised of a secretariat, employers and/or employer body organisations, the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA), further education, higher education and DfE representatives. Other stakeholders may include trade unions, industry experts and policy advisers who attend as required.   

Membership ensures that employers, those in further education and other experts are central to the development of qualifications and curriculum frameworks and the delivery of Apprenticeships to meet the current and future needs of industry in Northern Ireland. Framework qualifications are based on National Occupational Standards.

Role of Sectoral Partnerships

The main focus is on curriculum development and review with the Sectoral Partnership determining if frameworks meet the needs of industry.

A practitioners' handbook and workbook have been developed to assist Sectoral Partnerships in their review of apprenticeship frameworks in Northern Ireland. The handbook explains the stages involved in the process for the development of frameworks. The workbook contains all the necessary templates and forms required to complete a review. DfE and CCEA Regulation will use the workbook to quality assure the process and provide approval at each stage. Copies of the practitioners’ handbook and workbook are available on request by contacting:

Established Sectoral Partnerships

15 Sectoral Partnerships have been established to date:

  • Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering
  • Agri-Food Manufacturing
  • Built Environment
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Hair and Beauty
  • Health and Social Care
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • ICT
  • Life and Health Services
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Business and Administration
  • Childcare and Youth Work
  • Civil Engineering
  • Creative and Cultural
  • Motor Vehicle

Sectoral Partnerships to be established

A further three Sectoral Partnerships are due to be established covering the following sectors: 

  • Agriculture, Environment and Animal Care
  • Leisure and Wellbeing
  • Transport and Logistics

Employers are encouraged to become involved as Sectoral Partnerships are an opportunity to ensure apprentices are getting high quality training that provides them with skills for a career in their chosen industry and employers are getting employees who are trained for the future.

For further information on Sectoral Partnerships, please contact:


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