NI Traineeships – Non-employed Pathway

What is a NI Traineeship?

A Traineeship will provide a high-quality, vocational, education and training programme at Level 2 which is aimed at school leavers and adults who aspire to work within a specific sector. This is a two-year full-time course although Trainees who achieve qualifications during their first year may progress earlier to an apprenticeship or further education.

The programme starts in September, offering training across a range of sectors, with further sectors being introduced in the following year. Each Traineeship has been developed with employers to ensure that what you learn and the skills you develop are what employers are looking for.

A brick will being constructed
Female student sanding a wooden desk

NI Traineeship Programme

The new NI Traineeship programme will allow participants to achieve a full Level 2 qualification and will comprise the following key elements:

  • A main vocational based qualification, equivalent to at least 3 GCSEs in the chosen occupational area
  • Vocational skills development
  • Transversal and digital skills.
  • Work placement
  • Literacy and numeracy qualifications at Level 2 (may include GCSE qualifications in English and mathematics)
  • Additional qualifications deemed necessary for work within a sector e.g. Health and Safety, CSR, manual handling

Developing your wider skills

As well as providing you with the technical skills and knowledge in your chosen area, the Traineeship will help you to develop a range of personal skills that are important for employment, including:

  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Entrepreneurship

Project Based Learning will also be a key feature of Traineeships, in which you will explore real-world problems and challenges that have been developed with employers. You will be inspired to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects you are studying and develop a wide range of hands-on skills.

Applicants will be required to hold a minimum of a Level 1 qualification, defined as 4 GCSEs at grades D-G including Maths and English at grades D-F, or equivalent. However, most areas will require higher grades in Maths and English. Applicants who do not meet this enhanced entry criteria will enter an Introductory Phase of the Traineeship and be supported to achieve the required grades. Upon enrolment, trainees will undertake initial assessments which will confirm whether they should enter the full Traineeship or the Introductory Phase.

You can find details of entry requirements in the course information on this website.

Those that complete qualifications equivalent to five GCSEs at Grade C including English (or Level 2 Communication) and Maths (or Level 2 Application of Number) will receive an overarching Traineeship Certificate issued by the Department for the Economy.

All trainees who have attained the Full Traineeship Certificate, can progress within SERC to a Level 3 further education course or a Level 3 Apprenticeship (possibly with your work placement employer). This can lead to Higher Education options. 

Trainees who do not achieve all the components will be recognised for partial achievement. This may mean that the trainee passes the Technical Qualification but does not achieve a Grade C in English (or Level 2 Communication) or a Grade C in Maths (or Level 2 Application of Number). Trainees who have partial achievement may be able to progress to Level 3 Further Education.

Trainees who secure employment, in their chosen occupational area, during their traineeship can transfer seamlessly to Apprenticeship Level 2. As an apprentice, if you become unemployed during your apprenticeship, you can transfer onto a Traineeship to complete your programme. 

If you are required to engage with online learning SERC may facilitate this by lending the IT equipment which you require.
Trainees will receive free Health and Safety Equipment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). There may also be a requirement for trainees on Health and Social Care courses to be vaccinated when undertaking placements in hospital settings.

Trainees will receive a high level of pastoral care from College staff with appropriate support mechanisms in place. SERC will allocate you a Training Support Officer who will assist you throughout your qualification.

ROI trainees are eligible to apply to undertake a Traineeship. You may be eligible to apply for Back to Education support if you are currently in receipt of a Social Welfare payment.
  • All financial support available to eligible FE students will also be available under the same terms for trainees, including Education Maintenance Allowance, a Further Education Grant and a travel pass.
  • Trainees aged 18 or over on 1st July may be eligible for financial assistance from the College Hardship Fund. This is also means tested and can cover childcare costs if not available through other funding streams. 
  • You can read full details here