Delivering work-based training and qualifications to employees

Are you ready to re-energise your business? If your answer is ‘Yes’, then consider employing an apprentice today!

Discover apprenticeships

An apprenticeship is a work-based training programme, most of the training is ‘on-the-job’ with you as the employer. This is usually four days a week. The rest is provided ‘off-the-job’, one day a week.

All of the Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeship qualifications are set out in a framework and are available at Levels 2 and 3. They have been developed in liaison with industry representatives and are therefore tailored to ensure they meet the needs of your industry.

An apprentice can be a new or existing employee starting a new position. Take on an apprentice to discover fresh talent and thinking to meet your business needs and grow together. Employing an apprentice is like recruiting any other employee.

  • An Apprentice is in paid employment from day one. National Minimum Wage rates for apprentices apply however this rate differs for Higher Level Apprenticeships
  • An apprenticeship usually takes between two and four years to complete depending on the type of apprenticeship

During this time you will share your industry expertise and knowledge by providing mentoring and “on the job” training. Your apprentice will attend directed or “off the job” training (usually one day per week) to achieve the relevant industry qualifications and requirements which will be delivered by our Tutors.


Who is eligible to take part in Apprenticeships?

Apprenticeships are open to new employees or existing employees taking on a new role within a Northern Ireland based company.

Your apprentice needs to:

  • be the minimum school leaving age in Northern Ireland
  • be about to take up paid employment as an apprentice with a Northern Ireland based company, or be an existing employee in a Northern Ireland based company who is about to undertake a new role that requires significant training and development
  • employed by national companies that have operations in Northern Ireland who are employed at least 50 per cent of their time in Northern Ireland and completing their directed training in Northern Ireland with an approved training contractor
  • be permanently contracted to work a minimum of 21 hours per week (which includes time for ‘off-the-job’ training)
  • meet the entry requirements of their chosen occupation; some apprenticeships require, for example, General Certificates of Secondary Education (GCSEs)

Download the apprenticeships employer advice leaflet (PDF, 1.07MB).

Types of apprenticeships we offer

There apprenticeship programme is funded by the Department for the Economy (DfE):

  • ApprenticeshipsNI – Level 2 and 3 – available to individuals 16 and over, eligibility restrictions apply to individuals aged 25 and over

Apprenticeship levels

Apprenticeship levels are equivalent to:

  • Level 2 (5 GCSEs)
  • Level 3 (2 A Levels)

Apprenticeships qualifications explained

An apprenticeship can give your employee the training and qualifications they need to get ahead and meet your business needs. Find out more on apprenticeships explained for employers.

Our Approach

When designing learning materials for all our programmes, both in employer’s premises and on-site, we apply a blended approach which incorporates preferred learning styles. Our approach is apprentice centred, identifying key learner characteristics, practical constraints, and desired learning outcomes. Then we select the appropriate learning medium either one to one or classroom delivery; what can be delivered through our interactive digital learning facilities such as our smart screens and Moodle facilities and what support is needed to sustain and embed the learning in the workplace. We work with outside agencies on learning programmes, our recent community awareness programme included input from a range of community organisations in West Belfast.  These agencies provided learning materials on, citizenship, community leadership and conflict management which were accessed by our apprentices.

Learning materials for the Apps21 programme are designed against the standards for the qualification.  We access learning materials from the Awarding Organisation and standard setting bodies which relate directly to the qualifications being delivered.  Our tutors regularly attend training organised by Awarding Organisations and standard setting bodies on the development of effective learning materials.  When designing learning materials for all our programmes we apply a blended approach which incorporates preferred learning styles. This blended learning will be enhanced following the recent training of three members of staff on the Developing a Blended and Technology Enhanced Learning Course delivered by Stranmillis University College and Edtech training for all teaching staff.

Access to Modern Industry Standard Equipment

All participants will have access to modern, industry standard equipment and resources both in Springvale Learning and on the employer’s premises to support their vocational area and meet the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) which is part of our ISO health & safety management system which is audited internally and annually externally.  We also provide individual vocational specific equipment and PPE.

All equipment is updated in line with changes in qualification standards with an annual budget in place for updating or purchasing new equipment based on business need.  Uniforms and equipment can be refreshed / replenished if needed.  A regular inventory is taken with the equipment audit and maintenance schedule overseen by the Finance Manager in line with our ISO specification.   We will carry out a full audit of employer equipment to establish whether equipment and resources meet the standards required for delivery of the qualification. Our tutors ensure that the occupational framework requirements are being met and that training is being carried out on equipment that is modern and meets industry standards.

Benefits to me and my business

Apprenticeships can help all types of businesses across a wide range of sectors to harness fresh new talent. They can help equip your workforce with the practical skills and qualifications that your organisation needs now and in the future and you will enjoy the benefits of having a loyal and motivated workforce that you have trained to meet your specific business requirements. Find out more about the benefits of apprenticeships to you and your business.

Funding for Apprenticeships

Funding for the directed (or ‘off-the-job’) training element is provided by the Department for the Economy (DfE) with support from the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014-2020:

  • ApprenticeshipsNI – for apprentices aged 16-24, DfE pays the full cost of the off-the-job training. For those aged 25 and over, the Department provides 50% of the costs for apprentices who wish to follow apprenticeships in priority sectors.
  • An incentive payment is available for employers when an apprentice successfully completes their Level 2 and/or Level 3 ApprenticeshipsNI full framework of up to £3,500 per employee.

Find out more about finances and funding for apprenticeships.

What local companies say about Apprenticeships

Many Northern Ireland companies have successfully employed and trained their apprentices through the Apprenticeships programme and their businesses have reaped the benefits. Find out more about company testimonies for apprenticeships.

Getting an apprentice started on an Apprenticeship

You may already have a potential apprentice on your workforce. If not and you want to employ one, it is like recruiting any other employee. The next step is to Contact us – Springvale (


What if your apprentice needs additional support?

As the apprentices are in employment when they start on the programme the Disability Discrimination Act applies making it illegal for employers to subject disabled job seekers and employees to disability discrimination. This includes failing to comply with the important duty to make reasonable adjustments and subjecting disabled people to disability-related harassment.

There are programmes available through the Department for Communities to support people into and to sustain work and these can be put in place for any eligible apprentice. See work schemes and programmes for people with disabilities

If additional support is needed for your apprentice during their time on directed training, for example, if they have a disability, Springvale will organise this for you with specially trained support providers. They will work closely together on behalf of your apprentice so that he or she can benefit fully from the training programme.


Point Of Contact


Contact Details

Disability Action

Tony Carmichael

Portside Business Park
189 Airport Road

Tel. 028 9029 7874
Mob. 079 5160 1813

Sensory Learning Support

Gillian Stewart

85 Jordanstown Road
BT37 0QE

Tel. 028 9086 3541
Mob. 077 6732 1752

The Cedar Foundation

Kieran Molloy

1a Woodside Road Industrial Estate
Woodside Road
BT42 4QJ

Tel. 028 9061 2424
Mob. 077 5232 0321

Ulster Supported Employment Ltd. (USEL)

Arthur Savage

182-188 Cambrai Street
BT13 3JH

Tel. 028 9035 6600
Fax. 028 9035 6611
Mob. 077 3934 8817

Clanrye Group Ltd

Liam Devine

Slieve Gullion
Forest Park
89 Dromintee Road
BT35 8SW

Tel. 028 3089 8119
Mob. 078 6674 6423