Higher Level Apprenticeships delivering for Northern Ireland employers

Date published: 08 February 2019

Companies across Northern Ireland are benefiting more than ever from Higher Level Apprenticeships (HLAs). The Department for the Economy held a special event today to highlight the success of Higher Level Apprenticeships and to encourage more companies to consider how they could benefit from employing apprentices.

Pictured are Noel Lavery, Permanent Secretary of the Department for the Economy, at the Securing Your Success event to celebrate Higher Level Apprenticeships are apprentices Neil Hunter of Hovis and Sarah Gillespie of Fujitsu, also Apprentice of the Year

Higher Level Apprentices are full-time employees who undertake their training at one of Northern Ireland’s six Further Education colleges, three Higher Education Institutions, or the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE). In most cases, they work four days per week and spend one day undertaking training. All off-the-job training is fully funded by the Department.

Speaking as he opened the ‘Securing Your Success’ event in Titanic Belfast, Permanent Secretary of the Department for the Economy Noel Lavery said: “Higher Level Apprenticeships are adding value and competiveness to businesses in a range of sectors right across Northern Ireland. Combining a high quality career pathway with employment and learning, these apprenticeships equip employees with the skills that they need and that employers benefit from in the global marketplace.

“HLAs are delivering for businesses in areas ranging from accountancy, manufacturing, engineering and software through to pharmaceuticals, cyber security and hospitality.

“The success of Higher Level Apprenticeships is demonstrated by the numbers participating, with almost 2000 Higher Level Apprentices having started across Northern Ireland, benefitting more than 800 businesses. This growth is also testament to the collaborative approach of government, colleges and universities in collectively supporting local business.”

Mr Lavery added: “I would encourage local employers who have not yet availed of the opportunity to visit the Connect to Success NI portal on nibusinessinfo to see if they could benefit from this free online platform for promoting and advertising apprenticeship opportunities.”

The Connect to Success NI portal is available on the nibusinessinfo.co.uk website. 

The event also included the launch by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development of its report, Engaging Employers and Developing Skills at the Local Level in Northern Ireland.

Welcoming the report, Mr Lavery said: “This report by the OECD highlights Higher Level Apprenticeships as helping to strengthen links between business and the Further and Higher Education providers. The Department is committed to supporting business to deliver the vision of a globally competitive economy that works for everyone.”

Visit nidirect to find out more about Higher Level Apprenticeships vist nidirect or call 0300 200 7876.

More information on the range of support and assistance that the six FE colleges can deliver for local business is available on the Your College NI website

Notes to editors: 

  1. The OECD report, Engaging Employers and Developing Skills at the Local Level in Northern Ireland, is available at the OCED website.
  2. Follow us on Twitter @Economy_ni
  3. For media enquiries contact the Department for the Economy Press Office on 028 9052 9604 or email pressoffice@economy-ni.gov.uk  Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.

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