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HLA - Supply Chain and Logistics

Information for Employers

What is a Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA)?

A Higher Level Apprenticeship is a nationally accredited work-based programme similar to traditional apprenticeships but at a higher level (Level 5). It is designed to meet the needs of employers for higher skill levels and leads to qualifications equivalent to university.  Students on all HLA programmes are currently employed and this work-study mode has been identified as vital to developing the employability skills of employees. 


The Higher Level Apprenticeship will last for 2.5 years whereby the apprentice will attend college one day a week and their place of employment 4 days a week. An apprentice is paid a wage, usually above minimum wage and they are permitted study days and study leave. Both the College and the employer provide a mentor to assist the apprentice with their ‘on the job’ training and the college mentor will also assist with the learning and personal development aspects of the HLA. 

Recognised Qualification

Foundation Degree in Supply Chain & Logistics validated by Ulster University.


2.5 years - 1 day per week at College.


As an employer within the supply chain and logistics sector, your business can reap the benefits of providing a work placement for apprentices while they complete a recognised qualification at Northern Regional College. This opportunity is also open to your existing employees.*

Benefits include:

  • Skilled employees – access to skilled employees as well as means of upskilling existing staff members.
  • Stronger business and professional training – transfer knowledge and build relationships with the College.
  • Value for money – fully-funded qualification – Foundation Degree in Supply Chain & Logistics (supported by the Department for the Economy).

* Existing employees are only eligible to undertake a HLA if they are moving to a new job role. They must undergo an extensive initial assessment to identify existing competences and knowledge, which should be detailed on the Existing Employee Application Form.  A person recruited to a HLA position within 6 months of their off-the-job training commencing will be treated as a new employee.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible a person must, as a minimum, meet each of the following criteria:

  • Have attained the minimum school leaving age; (16 as at 1st July prior to the start date of the programme). Achieved 64 UCAS points, GCSE (or equivalent) Maths & English. Or provide evidence of industrial experience to meet the criteria for approved prior learning.
  • Be a new employee in, or about to take up a permanent remunerative employment offer, including a specific start date and documented evidence from the employer of the actual job offer, or an existing employee in a new job role that requires a substantial amount of learning and skills development commensurate to the apprenticeship pathway.  An exception may be made if an individual is already on an apprenticeship pathway at a lower level, with the HLA providing a progression route without the need for a new job role;
  • Be employed by a company with a permanent base in Northern Ireland, and be contracted to work a minimum of 21 hours per week
  • Have the potential to successfully complete the requirements of the appropriate Higher Level Apprenticeship;

The apprentice may start their employment up to a maximum of 6 months prior to the commencement of their off-the-job training. Employers may apply their own criteria during recruitment. However, only those who are assessed as capable/committed to achieving the full requirements of a HLA should be enrolled on to the programme.


For further information contact: Julie Powell at