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Business & Computing

Business Management - Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA) (Subject to DfE Approval)

Start Date: 16th September 2024
Code: PHPB1217

New Course


Duration: 3 Years Part-time
Start date: 16th September 2024
End date: 29th August 2027

Course fee: FREE

Course Content

Every private sector organisation, regardless of industry or sector, needs a strong administrative team to support senior management, ensure the smooth running of the business, adherence to quality and compliance with legislation. Individuals who are good communicators, take problem solving in their stride and have the business acumen and confidence to first participate in and later manage small scale projects. The HLA Business Management will help you develop these core business skills, to become a valuable team player and to later in your career take up a team leader/managerial role.

It has been designed in collaboration with private sector employers across Northern Ireland, with the aim of developing the skills and knowledge of a small number of successful candidates each year. Those who succeed who will become the next generation of administrators, team leaders and ultimately managers within Sales, Procurement, Marketing, Quality, Compliance and/or Finance Departments of Northern Ireland’s businesses.

As a successful candidate, you will embark on a three year HLA training contract with a local business. You will spend one day each week in college, working towards a Foundation Degree in Business Management, an Ulster University validated course. The rest of your week, you will undertake a minimum of 21 hours of industry work experience, putting into practice what you have learnt at college. Some students will find their own employer, whilst others will prefer for the programme’s HLA Mentor to facilitate finding an employer.

The modules within the HLA Business Management cover a wide range of business disciplines; giving you the opportunity to discover what you are most talented at, thereby enabling you to plot out the next steps in your career.

Year 1

  • Academic and Career Enhancement Skills
  • Principles of Management
  • Principles of Economics and Global Environment
  • Principles of Accounting

Year 2

  • Principles of Marketing
  • Digital Transformation
  • Leading and Managing People
  • Foundations of Entrepreneurship

Year 3

  • Finance for Decision Making
  • Organisational Behaviour and Change
  • Work Based Learning

Course Aims

The aims of the HLA Business Management are:

  • To equip HLA apprentices with foundational business knowledge, crucial for effective execution of administrative and team leader roles in private sector businesses. This will help students analyse business situations and make informed decisions. Skills learned here are essential for both academic success in subsequent years and practical application in real-world business environments.
  • To develop essential soft business skills such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. This will enable our HLA apprentices to make a valuable contribution in the workplace, to understand how businesses communicate with internal and external stakeholders, the behaviours expected from team members and how to effectively problem solve within small scale projects.
  • To prepare HLA apprentices for the digital economy and enhance their adaptability to changing business environments. Students will gain hands-on experience in using digital tools and understanding digital marketing tactics, which are crucial for the success of contemporary businesses.

Special Features


You will gain valuable knowledge, practical skills and work experience as well as a nationally recognised higher education qualification validated by Ulster University. This combination of practical work experience and a higher education qualification will increase your future employability, boost your CV and help your progress into more senior roles.

You will spend four days per week with your employer and one day per week at the Northern Regional College studying for your academic qualification, the FD in Business Management. The College will develop a close relationship with your employer in mentoring you throughout your employment contract.

Nationally Recognised Higher Education Qualification

You will attain a Foundation Degree in Business Management, validated by Ulster University.

Graduates of the FD Business Management will be eligible to progress to: 

  • Final year of Ulster University’s BSc Hons Global Business with Pathways (FT) (Derry-Londonderry Campus), subject to summer bridging requirements and other admission requirements being met. 
  • Level 5 of Ulster University’s BSc Hons Business Studies (FT) (Belfast Campus), subject to admission requirements being met. 
  • Ulster University’s BSc Hons Business Studies (Part Time) at the Northern Regional College subject to admission requirements being met, where eligible students complete 40 credits at level 5 and the 6 level 6 modules.

Earn While You Learn

You will gain valuable work experience from your employer as well as earning a monthly salary.

Debt Free

The Higher Level Apprenticeship programme will allow you to start your career without student debt that your university peers will have accumulated during their degree course – providing a very attractive alternative to university.

Applicants must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age on or before 1st July 2024; and satisfy Ulster University’s general entry requirements including:
  • GCSE English Language grade C/04 or above or Pass in Level 2 Essential Skills Communication, and
  • GCSE Maths grade C/04 or above or Pass in Level 2 Essential Skills Application of Number; and 
  • Have a minimum of 72-96 UCAS point from appropriate level 3 qualifications.

Where mature students wish to have prior education and/or experience taken into account, in lieu of meeting the full course entry requirements, they should contact the relevant Course Director or Admissions by 12th August, as an application deadline will apply. It is at the College's discretion to consider APEL enquiries after the dates stated.

Attendance at a pre-entry advice session is mandatory prior to enrolment.

Trostan Avenue Building
Trostan Avenue
BT43 7BN
0333 034 8197