Level 3 ApprenticeshipsNI employer-led training provision.
Purpose of framework/standard
In Northern Ireland ApprenticeshipsNI is an employer-led training provision – with employers creating apprenticeship opportunities in line with their business needs and employing the Apprentice in paid employment from day one on the programme. Training is shared by the employer and a Training Contractor. Training with the Contractor is known as directed training. It is usually carried out on a day-release basis with a Training Contractor who is contracted by the Department for the Economy to ensure apprentices receive training towards recognised qualifications.
Apprentices, in paid employment from day one, follow a national training framework which leads to the attainment of industry approved competence and knowledge based qualifications, at Level 2 or 3, in conjunction with Essential Skills qualifications of application of number, communications and ICT (where appropriate).
The Framework sets out the relevant national occupational standards and qualifications.
Any qualifications specified in an apprenticeship framework must be:
- Regulated by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulations (Ofqual)
- Underpinned by National Occupational Standards (NOS)
- Approved by the relevant Industry Representative
Apprentices, in paid employment from day one, follow a national training framework which leads to the attainment of industry approved competence and knowledge based qualifications, at Level 2 or 3 (GCSE and A Level equivalent), in conjunction with Essential Skills qualifications which must include Communication, Application of Number and ICT, where appropriate.
How apprenticeships prepare learners for progression to higher level study
The ApprenticeshipsNI programme enables mobility within a sector and across the wider economy by including a breadth of training beyond the specific needs of a job through both on and off-the-job training.
An apprentice who has achieved a Level 2 framework can progress to a Level 3 framework.
An apprentice who holds a recognised vocational qualification appearing on a current apprenticeship framework but lacks the requisite practical skill to support their transition to the higher level framework can undertake a Level 3 with a Level 2 en route. Upon completion participants can often progress into a Higher Level Apprenticeship - an apprenticeship with a targeted qualification between Level 4 (HNC equivalent) to Level 8 (PhD equivalent).
Combined competence- and knowledge-based qualification
Under ApprenticeshipsNI each Level 3 framework for the specific occupational area is agreed with the relevant industry-led representative body and comprises of directed training, related knowledge, appropriate Essential Skills, and structured workplace training.
Example of Level 3 units
There are currently 91 Level 3 frameworks (as per above). A list of all current Level 3 frameworks offered in Northern Ireland can be found here.
Additional requirements of apprenticeship
Differing entry criteria across frameworks. For some apprenticeships there are minimum entry requirements, for example electrical or plumbing.
Estimated duration of apprenticeship
The duration depends on the level of programme being followed. An apprenticeship at Level 2 or at Level 3 can last up to 130 weeks. If both levels are required it can last up to 260 weeks. The training may be completed in a shorter period depending on the learner's ability, prior learning and experience.
Designed to support progression
The ApprenticeshipsNI programme supports progression to Higher Level Apprenticeships and also supports career progression and job satisfaction within their employment.
Additional information for HE