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Higher Level Apprenticeships: A ‘Win-Win’ for Employees and Employers

Thursday

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Higher Level Apprenticeships (HLA) offer a ‘win-win’ situation for those involved by delivering work-based training and qualifications to employees and a financial incentive to employers. Jordan Gaw from Ballyclare is a second year Computing apprentice at Northern Regional College. Through the HLA he spends four days per week with his employer Hutchinson Engineering in Kilrea and the remaining day in the College’s Farm Lodge Campus in Ballymena engaging in classroom-based learning.

Commenting on this combination of learning styles, Jordan said:

“I like that the HLA combines both practical and hands-on experience in the workplace with the theoretical knowledge from the classroom.”

The opportunity to gain access to a real workplace is not lost on Jordan.

“Work experience helps you to increase your knowledge and expertise in a specific area and improves employability skills for in an increasingly competitive employment market. Another big bonus of course is that being an HLA allows you to earn as you learn. This means I can get an accredited qualification without running up student debt,” he explained.

Jordan who completed A Levels in Digital Technology and Geography and a BTEC Level 3 in Sport, said he applied for the HLA because he wanted to push himself further.

“I wanted to continue learning and I felt that going back to the College was the best way for me to do this,” he said.

Jordan added that the HLA programme had helped him to manage his time more efficiently.

“One of the key skills I have learned is time management. I’m in College one day a week so it’s important to manage your time well so you can complete the different tasks and projects.”

The HLA at Northern Regional College can open up a lot of new opportunities for students.

When he completes his HLA and Foundation Degree, Jordan plans to study Computing at university with a long-term view of working as a software developer.

Sean McAleese, Work-based Learning Manager at Northern Regional College, said that despite the present challenging circumstances, Jordan has demonstrated commitment to forging a successful career in the IT sector.

“Jordan made an excellent decision when he decided to do the HLA in Computing at Northern Regional College and I wish him every success in the future.”