Education news

A-levels: Regardless of results apprenticeships are 'the future'

There are currently 100 apprentices in Northern Ireland that have come through Workplus

YOUNG people are being encouraged to not let their A-level results define them and choose a higher level apprenticeship to shape their future.

Apprenticeships allow people to obtain skills and qualifications while getting paid.

Richard Kirk, Director of Workplus, said they were the future of work and education.

Around 1,000 young people, he said, had already moved into growing areas including engineering, accountancy, FinTech, manufacturing and software.

Many saw it as the best option to fast track them into a career, with no education fees and to continue learning up to degree level.

There are currently 100 apprentices in Northern Ireland that came through Workplus.

In its fourth year, it coordinates 30 companies to address shortages described by the Skills Barometer Report. It highlighted talent demand in engineering, IT, FinTech and other growing sectors.

Apprentices typically work four days per week with their employer and one day per week they attend either college or university depending on their level.

Mr Kirk said apprenticeships were for anyone who wanted to start earning and keep learning.

"A Workplus apprenticeship is much more than on-the-job training, it's about equipping people with new skills, experiences, networks and friends. Unlike full-time undergraduate education, there is a job at the start, not at the end," he said.

"There has never been a better time to embrace apprenticeships. The recent City Deals - both the Belfast region as well as Derry and Strabane - are designed to bring a step-change, creating new and better jobs. Apprenticeships provide employers with a flow of young workers to fill the talent gap and, in turn, young people with promising professional jobs."

Ryan Pickering, who works for FK Lowry, started his career through Workplus.

"I don't have to worry about student debt and it's boosted my confidence. I'm earning a salary and I get to make a positive difference to people's lives through my work and education," he said.

:: For further information visit

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe from just £1 to get full access

Education news

Today's horoscope


See a different horoscope: