The University of Limerick is Ireland's first University to offer a suite of executive apprenticeships from Level 7 Diploma to Level 10 Doctorate. These new executive apprenticeships have been created in collaboration with industry and are aimed at building Ireland's capacity to be world industry leaders through enhancing the skills of its existing workforce. Our programmes are focused on shaping future leaders and aim to develop leadership and management skills as well as enhancing programme specific strategy and execution capabilities.
We currently offer the following apprenticeships:
Apprenticeship is defined as a programme of structured education and training which formally combines and alternates learning in the workplace with learning in an education or training centre. It is a dual system, a blended combination of on-the-job employer-based training and off-the-job training.
Apprenticeship has long been an accelerator for individual and corporate development in Ireland. Apprenticeships are designed by industry-led groups - consortia, supporting growth and competitiveness, and are an exciting and proven way for employers to develop talent for their company and industry.
As part of the new National Apprenticeship Programme, the University of Limerick (UL) is Ireland’s first University to offer apprenticeships at higher level. These qualifications have been created ‘by industry for industry’ and are aimed at building Ireland’s capacity to be world industry leaders through enhancing the skills of its existing workforce. The programmes at UL are designed for people who are already working and wish to gain additional knowledge and experience within their role. As such, all of our participants already have employment contracts that meet or exceed the duration of the apprenticeship. Extensive consultation with industry has taken place in regards to curriculum content and structure, with high emphasis on real-world skills and employability.
All of the programmes are designed to minimise the student’s time away from the workplace using a 70:30 ‘on-the-job’ to ‘off-the-job’ ratio. This is achieved through the use of blended and online programme delivery for maximum benefit.
For each apprenticeship programme a Consortium Steering Group (CSG) has been developed. Their role is to ensure that the Apprenticeship programme(s) conforms to, and evolves with, the requirements of the occupational profile and to ensure that it is enterprise-led and meets labour market needs. Each CSG is composed of relevant stakeholders including employers, programme specific occupational associations, any occupational regulators or relevant professional bodies and the UL. The CSG will undertake periodical reviews of the programme and in particular the learning outcomes so as to ensure relevancy of the programmes and aligning the needs of Industry with skills development.
Extensive consultation with industry has taken place in regards to curriculum content and structure, with emphasis on real world skills and employability.
Depending on the Apprenticeship programme, delivery is either conducted online or through a blend of face-to-face sessions and online learning. Our programmes are tailored to support apprentices to study alongside their existing employment commitments therefore minimising the amount of time that an apprentice is away from the job.
While apprentices’ will engage in significant study time the maximum ratio of on-the-job to off-the-job is 70/30. There are additional summer school requirements, industry based seminars and company visits to explore practical application of the course of study in Irish and International enterprises. These vary between programmes of study.
All apprentices will engage in a Community of Practice to allow them to interact and engage in peer-to-peer learning and networking activities, masterclasses, and an e-portfolio.
In all instances this learning is supported by an in-company mentor.
Additionally apprenticeships are supported by a dedicated resource from the University who will also work in collaboration with the in-company mentors.
How do I become an apprentice?
Our programmes is suitable for existing employees seeking to progress within their organisation and develop skills relevant to the workplace.
It is also suitable for career changers and those wishing to recieve certification and validation for skills already attained.
All of our apprentices must meet specific entry requirements as set out below.
Apprentice Entry Requirements
- Must be aged 18 or over.
- Must have an Irish contract of employment and be working in a relevant area pertaining to their chosen apprenticeship.
- Must have achieved the minimum academic requirements for the relevant programme.
- English is the language of tuition and assessment. Apprentices for whom English is not a first language must demonstrate proficiency in English and meet the University of Limerick English Language requirements.
- Non-EU applicants are subject to work permit regulations.
- Certified and non-certified Recognition of Prior Learning will also be considered.
- Must have opportunity and access to relevant inhouse work experience to complement the chosen apprenticeship
- Must be employed by a SOLAS ‘Approved Employer’ and registered as an apprentice
Do I have to leave work for long periods to attend college?
Apprenticeships are work based learning programmes and have been designed to be flexible in terms of time, location, and mode of learning. All of our apprenticeship programmes are structured for blended delivery with the learning material delivered by a combination of academic subject matter experts and industry professionals. Interaction with the learning material is through online seminars and lectures and digital teaching methods, webinars and collaboration software. Course updates, hyperlinks and URLs for further research, examination and assessment, electronic library and on-line collaboration are all available through the University LMS.
There is an emphasis on directed assignment work in each of the modules to allow participants to spend more time applying the concepts in the context of their own organisations. This strong application focus is supported by a capstone work based project at the end of each year. The students are supported by a web-based, on-line learning platform, which provides a learning environment for each module along with course updates, hyperlinks and URLs for further research, examination and assessment, electronic library and on-line collaboration.
There is also a summer school during the summer of the first year for some of our programmes and this is maximum 5 days in duration.
As the provider of the on-the-job elements of the Apprenticeship Programme, the employer forms a critical component of the apprenticeship programme.
Benefits to Employers
- Meet the unique needs of your business – with our Executive Apprenticeship programmes on the job learning is crucial to success, apprentices are able to develop the knowledge and occupational competencies demanded by specific job roles, and meet the unique needs of business going forward.
- Develop your own talent – fill current or predicted skills gaps by growing your own in house knowledge and talent with a combination of ‘on-the-job’ learning and formal studies.
- Improve staff retention and loyalty – Develop a culture of professional development by investing in your staff and affording them the opportunity to develop, progress and gain a university qualification while working. This is coupled with built in supports of in company mentors and much more.
- Increase your productivity – Bring fresh thinking to your business. Executive Apprentices can keep your business up to date with the latest techniques and technology, increasing your productivity and cost effectiveness for the future.
- Flexible learning – Our programmes are tailored to support apprentices to study alongside their existing commitments.
Employers who wish to employ apprentices are required to complete an approval process. If you are interested in employing apprentices you can complete an online Expression of Interest form here.
Employers who are approved to employ apprentices on a particular apprenticeship have demonstrated that they can provide quality, relevant on-the-job apprentice training as per the requirements of the national apprenticeship programme and the statutory apprenticeship system overall. A key component in the employers commitment to the programme is the appointment of an in-company mentor to support the learning and development of the apprentice.
Apprentices and employers agree to comply with a Code of Practice as part of the statutory apprenticeship process.
Key Considerations for an employer include the following:
- Can you provide the apprentice with a contract of employment of employment for the duration of the programme?
- Will you faciliate the apprentice with time off to attend the required off-the-job training and study visits?
- Can you provide access for the apprentice to the range of facilities and activities that will allow the apprentice gain the experience and develop the skills they need?
- Can you provide a mentor to offer support and guidance to the apprentice in the workplace (The University of Limerick will provide Mentor training workshops)?
- Will your company engage with the coordinating provider in relation to feedback reviews and site visits?
The Workplace Mentor
Undertaking study at University level while working can be a significant challenge. The role of the workplace mentor is crucial in ensuring that apprentices are supported through their on the job learning, in enabling access to information and services and for the sharing of knowledge and expertise. With all of our apprenticeship programmes there is a minimum requirement for 4 formal mentoring sessions per year with as many additional non formal sessions as necessary.
The workplace mentor will be appointed by the employer and approved by a Senior Training Advisor/Authorised Officer. They should be occupationally qualified with the appropriate experience to support the apprentice through the programme.
The role of the Mentor includes:
- to act as an advocate for the apprenticeship programme – to understand its strategic importance and how it translates to the workplace
- to meet the employers commitment to provide direction, observation and guidance to the apprentice
- to challenge and facilitate the apprentice in working on tasks and assignments
- to enable opportunities for apprentices to participate in relevant workplace tasks, projects and reports – supporting their e-portfolio and their continuous assessment
- to support and encourage their personal development and learning
- to increase networking - help to obtain access to information and people within the organisation and outside
For more information on our Apprenticeships please see our handbooks below.
For Apprentices - Unlike traditional apprenticeships, these executive apprenticeship programmes at UL are designed for people who are already working and wish to gain additional knowledge and experience within their role. As such, all of our programme participants have existing contracts of employment that meet or exceed the duration of the apprenticeship.
If you’re interested in undertaking one of our executive apprenticeships, we recommend that you speak with your employer in the first instance and direct them to the Expression of Interest form.
For Employers - If you are interested in developing the skills of your employees and to drive the growth and development of your business, then the Apprenticeships programme could be for you. Employers who wish to employ apprentices are required to complete an approval process. There are a number of steps in the validation process:
Company Registration Process: No Charge
Online Student Application Fee: €35
Annual Student Contribution Fee: 30% of UL student contribution fee is payable. For this academic year this will be €900*
*It should be noted that these fees are subject to change depending on the programme of study and external funders requirements