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Engineering & Science

Advanced Manufacturing Engineering - Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA)

Start Date: 18th September 2024
Code: PHPB2037


Duration: 3 Years (2 Semesters per year) Part-time
Start date: 18th September 2024
End date: 26th May 2027
Day: Wed
Time: 09:00-20:30
Information Event: Yes

Course fee: FREE

Course Content

Northern Regional College is offering a Higher Level Apprenticeship in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering. This programme has been designed to provide the manufacturing and engineering sector in Northern Ireland with high grade technicians and engineers who have practical skills, combined with a higher education qualification.

The programme will facilitate progression from Level 3 apprenticeship and could also encourage future progression to Level 6 qualifications and enable apprentices to work towards Incorporated Engineer status.  

The framework covers a wide range of job roles in advanced manufacturing and engineering which broadly fit into the higher-level skills requirements for differing sectors.

The qualifications in this framework contribute to general competence as measured in the Engineering Council's UK specification.

There may also be opportunities for you to obtain employment through the assistance of the College.

Over the course of the programme you will undertake the following alongside your employment:

  • Level 5 Foundation Degree in Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering
  • Level 5 Foundation Degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering 

(Course structure is subject to DfE’s Approval)

As you progress, you will develop your skills within your role in the company gaining experience and real hands-on knowledge through the expert teams based in the business while you continue your studies at college on a day-release basis.

Find out more about the Higher Level Apprenticeship in Engineering from Anna.

Anna HLA


Companies recruit directly for this course. Companies currently participating in the Higher Level Apprenticeship programme include AGR Automation, Ashdale Engineering, Brett Martin, Currie Fabtech, Emerson, I-Syscal, Lakeland Dairies, Mallaghan Engineering, Nicobrand, Northstone (NI), RNLI, Rockcastle, Ryobi Aluminium Castings, Stephens Catering, Vaughan Engineering, WD Meats, Wrightbus.

Please Note 

If a course is over-subscribed the college reserves the right to enhance the entry criteria. Details of enhanced criteria will be provided at Interview Stage.

Special Features

How Can Your Career Benefit from a Higher Apprenticeship?
You will gain lots of valuable knowledge, practical skills and work experience as well as a recognised qualification - just the combination that can help increase your future employability, boost your CV and open new career opportunities for you.

Earn While You Learn
You will gain valuable work experience from your employer as well as gaining a recognised professional qualification and earning a regular salary.

This Higher Apprenticeship programme will allow you to start your highly-skilled career without the student debt that your university peers will have accumulated during their degree course - providing a real alternative to university.

Course Update

Please note from September 2025, all Ballymena courses are planned to move to the new Ballymena campus at Farm Lodge.

  • You must be at least 18 years on or before 1 July in the year you start your course and must satisfy the general entry requirements.
  • ​As minimum you need to:
    be a new employee in, or about to take up a permanent remunerative employment offer, or an existing employee moving to 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 to move to a new job role. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure this criteria is met.
    be employed by a company with a permanent base in Northern Ireland, have a contract of employment in place, be contracted to work a minimum of 21 hours per week (which includes day release/off-the-job directed training) with one employer, and in receipt of the appropriate wage.
  • have achieved all necessary entry qualifications determined by the relevant sector (see below)
  • pass any entry tests specified by the relevant sector
  • be the minimum school leaving age in Northern Ireland.
    Entry qualifications
  • A minimum of 56 UCAS tariff points comprising a pass grade in at least one STEM subject at Advanced GCE or AS GCE level. Candidates must have studied Maths or Physics to at least Level 3. 
  • BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (MPP) in an Engineering Programme.
  • BTEC Level 3 Diploma (MM) in an Engineering Programme. 
  • A qualification or set of qualifications considered by Ulster University to be equivalent to one of the above. 
  • GCSE English minimum Grade C or approved equivalent.
  • GCSE Maths minimum Grade C or approved equivalent.
  • Third country nationals, including European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss Nationals and their family members, are eligible to undertake a HLA provided they have a right to live and work in the UK.  See HLA page for further details.

Where applicants wish to have prior education and/or experience taken into account, they should contact the relevant Course Director or Admissions by 12th August, as an APEL application deadline will apply. It is at the College's discretion to consider APEL enquiries after the date stated.

Where applicants do not meet the necessary entry requirements, they may be directed to study an appropriate BTEC Level 3 qualification in Engineering.

Upon successful completion of the Higher Level Apprenticeship, you can continue your studies by working towards a Level 6 qualification and Incorporated Engineer status or progress into employment within the manufacturing and engineering sector.

Farm Lodge Buildings
BT43 7DF
0333 034 8197