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Tech apprenticeships available for all A-level students

  • As thousands of young people prepare to receive their A-level results this Thursday (15 August), some may have plans to go on to university, but others may be searching for alternatives to kick start their careers.

    The number of young people choosing to enrol in apprenticeships instead of university has steadily increased from 2013 to 2018, according to reports published by the NI Department for Economy. The report highlighted that there appears to be a lack of awareness surrounding apprenticeship opportunities throughout the UK overall.

    Another report by Universities UK in July 2019 found that four out of every five school pupils in Years 10 and 12 know little or nothing at all about the application process for degree apprenticeships, and only 7% know about these course structures. It did, however, find that that parents and school pupils were enthusiastic about the schemes when they discovered more about them. 

    The main benefit of an apprenticeship is that you earn as you learn, and can graduate without mountains of student loan debt to pay off. If you are unsure of your next steps, don’t think university is for you, or have even left school already there are plenty of apprenticeships that Belfast-based firms are currently offering, with lots of time to still apply.

    As you get your A-Level results and plan your next educational steps, below are a few key local tech apprenticeships to consider:

    Danske Bank:

    Apprenticeship Fields: Financial Technology, Financial Services

    Danske Bank is currently inviting applications to its fully funded degree apprenticeship programme, Danske Futures. Successful applicants will be appointed to a paid role within Danske’s Personal Banking and Small Business team, or their Operations team, in locations across Northern Ireland. They will simultaneously study part-time for fully funded BSc Hons degree in Managing the Customer Contact, which has been developed specifically for this programme in partnership with Ulster University.

    Adam Warden from Bangor left school in 2017 and successfully applied to the programme when it first launched in 2018. He now works in Danske’s customer contact centre, and says he always knew he wanted a career in financial services: “The opportunities we’ve been given and the mentorship that we have received from the beginning has just been incredible. There is also a real sense of community between the apprentices, regularly meeting up and sharing what we’re doing in our various roles. We receive great support from colleagues, mentoring and access to senior management, and there are lots of possibilities to get involved in the bank’s community programmes. I would recommend the programme to anyone.”

    How to Apply: The deadline for applications is August 27th 2019. For further information or to apply, head over to



    Apprenticeship Fields: Technology, Data Science

    PwC is also encouraging young people to consider a lesser-known pathway for the next stage of their education. Stephanie Gowdy, Student Recruitment Senior Manager at PwC Belfast, told Sync NI that the firm first formally began their school leaver programme in 2012, piloting a Level 4 apprenticeship in Accountancy for the Department of Economy which has expanded widely over the years.

    “We initially recruited six people. And now have 60 direct entry school leavers,” she said. “People who have completed their A-levels who join to study for accountancy or tax exams over a two year period are full time staff, but are still able to go on for further study afterwards. Our Level 6 Tech degree apprenticeship is also now a fully funded degree programme with Queens University Belfast and we are in the process of recruiting our third intake of 20 people per year onto the tech programme."

    The scheme is designed for students applying to four-year degrees at university but hires them as PwC employees from day one of their course and provides placements throughout their university experience. PwC recruits for their roles a year in advance and there will be between 50-60 roles available between spring and September next year. Anyone interested in the tech degree can apply in lower sixth.

    How to Apply: To find out more information, PwC is holding a post A-level results ‘drop in’ event on Thursday 22 August from 6pm – 8pm in their Belfast office, based in the Waterfront Plaza. This event is open to students and parents to pop in and speak to some of the teams and student recruitment about the roles PwC has available to join their School Leaver Programme in Spring 2020. There is no need to sign up - just call in when suits between 6pm - 8pm, grab a slice of pizza and have a chat with the team. You can also find out more at


    Belfast Met:

    Apprenticeship Fields: Cyber-security, Cloud Development, Application Development, Software Development, Infrastructure.

    Applications for IT apprenticeships through Belfast Met are also open now and cover a variety of areas, such as Infrastructure, Software Development, Cyber Security and Cloud and Application Development roles with the firms investing in their training to enable them to gain Level 3 or 5 qualifications (depending on the programme) and beyond.

    Successful applicants will again be employed in one of the participating companies and receive “on-the-job” training from Belfast Met.

    How To Apply: Applications close on 26 August and more information on how to apply can be found at



    Apprenticeship Fields: Financial Technology (also Civil Engineering and Quantity Surveying throughout the year)

    Northern Ireland’s leading civil engineering apprenticeship scheme, Work+ is now in its fourth year with around 100 existing apprentices. The company created 70 apprenticeships in early 2019, and was jointly developed to meet the growing demand for civil engineers identified in the Department for the Economy (DfE) Skills Barometer.

    The company is now aiming to broaden their horizons, with their CEO and Founder Richard Kirk, stating that “Workplus is now helping more people into work by developing apprenticeships across various sectors”.

    This includes the opportunity to apply for FutureWise, which is a FinTech (Financial Technology) apprenticeship developed in partnership with Ulster University. Northern Ireland is becoming a growth hub for FinTech, with companies such as First Derivatives and FinTru needing more talent to meet their constantly growing demand.

    FutureWise will allow successful applicants to gain the necessary experience at work while studying for a BSc Hons degree at Ulster University during this four year programme.

    How To Apply: Applications for FutureWise must be submitted by 30 August. You can find out more at


    Whatever career path you are interested in, or even if you aren't sure what that career may be yet, there are plenty of informative events and apprenticeship schemes within Northern Ireland to help you on your way. Make sure to keep up-to-date with Sync NI's events and jobs pages to ensure you don't miss out. 

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