Higher Level Apprenticeship qualifications

Higher Level Apprenticeships (HLAs) currently offer you qualifications from Level 4 to Level 7 (Master's degree). The majority are at Level 5 (Foundation degree or equivalent).

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

Benefit to Apprentices

By taking part in a Higher Level Apprenticeship, you can gain the skills that employers need and that are relevant to the local economy, therefore improving your prospects of good earnings and sustained employment

    • earning while you learn
    • achieving professional-level qualifications without paying higher education tuition fees
    • increased opportunities for career progression
    • a clear pathway to achieving ambitions in the workplace

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    What's Available at South West College

    Benefits to Employers

    Higher Level Apprenticeships allow employers to train staff to the level needed so they have strong technical and good employability skills.

    An apprenticeship can:

    • fill higher level skills gap
    • attract higher calibre staff
    • increase productivity
    • develop existing staff

    Listen to watch our HLA students have to say


    Opportunities are available for you to gain qualifications from Level 4 upwards if you are a new employee or an existing employee in a new job role. Entry requirements will depend on the apprenticeship pathway.

    To take part in the Higher Level Apprenticeship programme you need, as a minimum, to:

    • be employed or be about to take up paid employment as an apprentice, or be an existing employee moving to a new job role, with a Northern Ireland based company
    • work a minimum of 21 hours per week (which includes time for ‘off-the-job’ training)
    • have achieved all necessary entry qualifications determined by the relevant sector
    • pass any entry tests specified by the relevant sector
    • be the minimum school leaving age in Northern Ireland