Higher Level Apprenticeship in Accounting

This course is aimed at individuals who wish to pursue a career in accountancy. The Apprenticeship is dependent upon the candidate securing full-time employment with an organisation and attending training on one full day per week in College.

Academic Year: 2023/24
Course Code: 10186
Campus: Lisburn
Study Type: Part-Time
Education Level Higher Education
Department: Business & Management

Alternative Years

You are viewing the 2023/24 version of this course, it is also available in the following years:

View 2024/25 Course
Course Structure

This is a work-based programme which enables you to earn while you learn and gain a nationally recognised professional qualification.  The apprentice will be employed in an accountancy practice for two years and mentoring will be provided throughout the employment period. The Higher Level Apprenticeship in Accountancy provides an alternative entrance route to starting a career in the accountancy and finance profession.

Students will be employed for four days per week and will attend college one day per week. 

All staff teaching on the programme hold graduate, post graduate and professional qualifications as well as significant industry experience.

Modules will include:

  • Financial Accounting
  • Taxation
  • Business Management
  • Business Law
  • Advanced Financial Accounting
  • Advanced Taxation
  • Management Accounting
  • Financial Data Management

Directed Study

8 hours contact time to include lectures and other practical class activities in preparation for end of year exams

Personal Study

A further 8 hours of study per week, on average, in your own time including use of online materials, case studies and preparation for examinations.  This may increase closer to the exam period

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age on or before 1st July in the year of proposed entry

GCSE English Language (minimum GCSE grade C) and Mathematics (minimum GCSE grade B) and

Minimum of 96 UCAS tariff points achieved through the completion of A Levels in any subject or equivalent qualification

English Language Requirements for International students

  • Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) level B2
  • IELTS 6.0 (minimum of 5.5 in all skills)
  • PTE 51
  • Or an approved equivalent test in English

Equivalent qualifications include:

  • Grade C (or above) in English
  • Successfully completion of a Level 3 Vocational Programme with assessments completed in English Language
  • Essential Skills in Literacy (Level 2)
  • ESOL Level 2  

Tier 4 Students

  • SERC will only accept a Secure English Language Test (SELT) for issuing a Certificate of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)

Admissions Requirements

Successful completion of the admissions process

APEL Requirements

Provide evidence of ability to undertake the programme by meeting the requirements for the accreditation of prior experiential learning.  Further details on APEL can be found in the admissions section.    


Students are assessed using a range of different methods. These include examinations, coursework, Project Based Learning, presentations, practical, posters, leaflets, role-play, and case studies.  This is dependent on the requirements of each unit of study.  Oral, written and online feedback will be provided during your course to help improve and monitor performance.

Special Features



You will gain lots of valuable knowledge, practical skills and work experience as well as an internationally recognised qualification – just the combination that can help increase your future employability, boost your CV, help you progress into management roles and open new career opportunities for you. 

This programme will provide you with an immediate 2-year employment contract working with a leading NI accountancy practitioner as well as attending college on a weekly basis.


A Recognised Qualification

You will gain an internationally recognised qualification - Diploma of Accounting Technicians from Accounting Technicians Ireland (ATI) which is a Level 5 qualification and is equivalent to a Foundation Degree programme.


A Stepping Stone to Chartered Accountancy

Upon successful completion of your Higher Apprenticeship, you could continue your studies towards Chartered Status at Level 7 with Chartered Accountants Ireland (CAI).


Earn While You Learn

You will gain valuable accountancy work experience from your employer as well as gaining a recognised professional qualification and earning a regular salary (at least the national minimum wage).  


This Higher Level Apprenticeship programme will allow you to start your highly-skilled career without the student debt that your university peers will have accumulated during their degree course – providing a real alternative to university.

Getting a Higher Apprenticeship with an employer is the same as getting a job.  Following submission of your application, you will be invited to go through the employer’s recruitment process. It will be competitive and there are likely to be a number of people applying for each Higher Apprenticeship vacancy, so you will need to sell yourself and convince the employer that you are the right person for the role. 

Apprentices may be recent school leavers who have undertaken A Levels or other suitable Level 3 qualifications or be currently employed in an organisation with a suitable accounts department who will be changing roles to take on the HLA in Accountancy or anyone who has a keen interest in developing a career in Accountancy.


As an apprentice

You will commit your time and effort to gaining the required skills and putting these into practice in the workplace. You will also be required to complete formal study one day per week at South Eastern Regional College for the ATI Diploma as well as informal work-based training (e.g. attending meetings). You will also be expected to play an active role in the mentoring programme determined by your employer. Your employer will commit to employing you for 2 years, pay you at least the national minimum wage, carry out regular reviews of your progress and provide career development support.

Successful completion of the Accounting Technicians Ireland qualification can give you a distinct advantage in the market place as many employers view it as essential when they are hiring.  The course has enabled completing students to take up key roles in accounting practices and in industry. A percentage of ATI graduates decide to continue studying and will use the Accounting Technicians Ireland qualification as a stepping stone into other professional accounting and taxation bodies.  

Many graduates pursue further accounting studies with organisations such as Chartered Accountants Ireland, or the other professional bodies including the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), the Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CPA), or the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA).  All these bodies offer Accounting Technicians Ireland graduates significant exemptions for taking their exams.

There are no additional costs associated with this programme.

 Accredited by Accounting Technicians Ireland (ATI).

Alternative Years

You are viewing the 2023/24 version of this course, it is also available in the following years:

View 2024/25 Course

Enquiries Information

For more information or help with this course send us an enquiry and a member of our team will get back in touch.

Available Sessions

Sorry you cannot currently apply online for this course.

For more information or help with this course please complete an enquiry form.

Alternative Years

You are viewing the 2023/24 version of this course, it is also available in the following years:

View 2024/25 Course

Customer Enquiries

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Terms & Conditions

Students will be required to comply with SERC's Terms & Conditions of study.

We strive to ensure the description of courses on SERC's website and in publications is accurate. However, for various reasons there may be occasions when the College may need to change arrangements or be unable to deliver classes due to circumstances such as reduced funding. If there are insufficient numbers applying for a course it may not be viable to deliver the class.

In addition to the above Terms & Conditions students must also adhere to the following:
  • Pass three out of four modules which includes Taxation, Financial Accounting and one other before progressing to Level 5 Diploma.
Higher Education

Higher Education

If you have just completed your A-Levels, Higher Education is most likely the option for you. HE usually covers HNC, HND & Foundation Degree level of courses including our Higher Level Apprenticeships.

Explore Higher Education