Higher Level Apprenticeship Pilot Activity Statistical Bulletin published

Date published: 10 May 2018

The Department for the Economy has today published a statistical bulletin on Higher Level Apprenticeship pilot activity.

This official statistics release presents a range of analysis regarding enrolments during the pilot phase of the Higher Level Apprenticeship programme. This covers provision across the academic years 2015/16 to 2016/17 delivered in the Northern Ireland Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE) Sectors. The statistics presented in this bulletin cover the characteristics of those enrolling in FE colleges and HE Institutions (HEIs), along with analysis of performance in terms of achievements and participant satisfaction.

Key points

Key points include:

  • Since the commencement of the pilot phase of the Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) programme, covering 2015/16 and 2016/17, there have been a total of 853 enrolments (592 individuals) in the scheme in Further Education (FE) Colleges.
  • Within HEIs, in 2015/16 there were 20 individuals enrolled on HLAs. In 2016/17 this increased to 95 individuals.
  • Over the two year period, the largest proportion (43.6%) of individuals enrolled on HLAs at FE colleges were in the age group ‘25 and over’.
  • In 2016/17, almost half (48.4%) of HLA participants at HEIs were in the age band ‘16 to 19’.
  • Over the two year HLA pilot phase the majority of individuals enrolled on a HLA programme within FE colleges were male (64.7%).
  • In 2016/17, of the 95 HLA participants at HEIs 64.5% were male and 35.5% were female.
  • In 2015/16 enrolments identified as Broad STEM accounted for 69.1% of all HLA pilot enrolments at FE colleges, while in 2016/17 this was 66.9%.
  • In 2016/17 most (77.4%) of HLA enrolments at HEIs were non-STEM, while the rest (22.6%) were Broad STEM.
  • For provision delivered at FE colleges, the overall retention rate in 2015/16 was 96.2% and remained at a similar level (95.4%) in 2016/17.The overall success rate in 2015/16 was 88.6% but decreased slightly to 79.1% in 2016/17.
  • There is currently no available performance analysis for HEIs, associated with achievement of HLA qualifications.
  • The Department commissioned, through the Quality Improvement Team, a participant satisfaction survey in March 2017, only within FE sector, to assess the quality of the experience for a Higher Level Apprentice. There were 235 responses to the survey, which represented a response rate of 52.6% of those students who were active on the course (447) in March 2017 only within the FE sector. Some of the key findings, including an upper and lower limit (margin of error) for each proportion, in relation to satisfaction levels are listed below:

91.8% (+/-3.5%) were either fairly or very satisfied with the quality of teaching being provided by the college.

84.8% (+/- 4.6%) were either fairly or very satisfied with the match between the teaching and learning in the College, and the tasks you perform in the workplace.

96.1% (+/-2.5%) would recommend this apprenticeship to others who are interested in the same area of work.

This full statistical bulletin and other information is available to download on the DfE website.


Notes to editors: 

  1. The FE statistics presented in these bulletins are based on data collected by the FE colleges and submitted to the Department through an electronic data return called the Consolidated Data return (CDR).
  2. The HEI statistics presented in these bulletins are based on data collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). HESA is the official agency for the collection of information on publicly funded Higher Education (HE) institutions in the UK.
  3. Higher Education students for the purpose of HESA's data collection are those students on courses for which the level of instruction is above that of level 3 of the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) National Qualifications Framework (NQF) (for example, courses at the level of Certificate of HE and above).
  4. For Further Education information, each academic year period is defined by each FE college and potentially will differ across all six colleges. An academic year traditionally starts in August and finishes in July the following year. For Higher Level Apprenticeship enrolment data from Higher Education Institutions, each academic year begins on the 1st August and ends on 31st July.
  5. Further notes and technical details are available in the bulletin on the Department’s website.
  6. For further information, please contact the please contact the Department for the Economy Press Office on 028 9052 9604 or pressoffice@economy-ni.gov.uk. Outside office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned. Follow the Department of Economy on Twitter @Economy_NI


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