Apprenticeship FAQs

As an apprentice where will I be based?

Our training centres are based in Ballymena, Campsie (Londonderry/Derry) and Craigavon. During your apprenticeship you will be carrying out onsite placements where you could potentially be in various locations throughout Northern Ireland. To support your training and development it’s essential you can work at any of our locations.

What qualifications do I need to apply for the apprenticeship?

It is essential that, you are 16 years old from the start date and that you hold or expect to achieve 4 GCSE passes at Grade C (or equivalent) including Mathematics and English Language.

Please note, only those candidates who clearly display that they meet the above criteria will be progressed to the next stage of the selection process.  For example, if your qualification is an Essential Skills, you must list the level.  Level 2 would be accepted as an equivalent.


Do I have to study in my own time?

Yes, you will be studying to complete a vocational qualification and also a technical Level 3 qualification (BTEC)  which will both require independent study.

What if I already have my BTEC qualification?

This will be reviewed if you are successful.   NIE Networks will consider the level and the units you have completed.  There are certain modules which you may be required to complete as the BTEC is bespoke to NIE Networks.

I have completed the 17th edition, do I need to complete an apprenticeship?

Yes you would have to complete our level 3 Apprenticeship.

How many days a week do I go to College?

One long day per week, usually a Tuesday.

Where will the various stages of the apprentice recruitment process be held?

They may be held across various sites, including Ballymena, Craigavon and Campsie. Each stage may be held at a different site, which will be clearly stipulated on your correspondence email.

Can I get an application form posted out?

All applications must be submitted through the online recruitment portal.  This is so we can ensure your CV application is where it needs to be, and will be reviewed by the correct people.

Will I receive notifications on how my application is progressing within the selection process? 

When you submit your application you will receive an email to confirm we have received it.

When we close the vacancy we aim to respond to all applicants within 2 weeks.  All candidates receive written notification via email of the outcome of their application.  It’s recommended you check your junk mail filters to make sure you don’t miss any important correspondence.

You are also encouraged to “like” us on Facebook at NIE Networks Careers where we will post out when email correspondence has been sent for each stage of the process.

Do I get travel allowance? Or accommodation allowance?

There are provisions in place; each case will be reviewed on an individual basis.

Do I have to be able to drive?

As an apprentice you will be working across Northern Ireland so it is an essential requirement for you to learn when it is legally possible. It is your responsibility to get yourself to work each day. 

What age do I have to be to apply for the apprenticeship?

You have to be at least 16 years old on starting date.

Is there an age limit for the apprenticeship?

No there is no age limit. As long as you are over the age of 16 at the start date then you can apply.  Those in Year 12 are applicable to apply

Can I change the date of my test etc?

We can review your date based on your circumstances.  However changes should be kept to a minimum

I am colour blind, can I apply for the apprenticeship?

Yes, we would carry out a visual test in relation to the relevant colours critical to our job roles and primarily for your safety.  We have had a few with levels of colour blindness in the past who were still suitable to enter our programme.  It is your responsibility to notify us.

I am dyslexic, can I apply for the apprenticeship and receive help at the testing stage?

Yes, we can accommodate this and provide help where applicable, please state this clearly on your form to allow us to make adjustments.

Can you give me more information about the practical test?

To be fair to all applicants we can’t give too much away about the practical test but you will get a full briefing about what the test will entail when you arrive.

How does the current recruitment process operate?

Shortlisting will be determined through the following stages:
  1. Application form - applicants will have to demonstrate they meet the minimum criteria at this stage
  2. Aptitude test - this stage will assess shortlisted applicants on the following topics, spatial awareness, mental arithmetic, engineering problems and design problems. The aptitude tests are conducted by an external assessor and individuals will be shortlisted at this stage based on the scores achieved.
  3. Assessment centre- this could be a practical skills test to test your hand skills. Individuals will be shortlisted at this stage based on the scores achieved.
  4. Competency based interview - we will invite shortlisted applicants to interview to see how well they match the essential qualities required for the position.
For each stage we will note our important dates on our website and Facebook page. If you are unsuccessful at any stage we will email you to confirm this.

What is a competency based interview?

Competency based interviewing assesses future performance based on past behaviour. It can give valuable insights into an individual's preferred style of working and help predict behaviour in future situations.

Questions will be asked to draw information required to support the key competencies of the role.

Questions may be worded in the format of “Can you give me an example when…?” or “Tell me about a time when you…”

Responses should be structured to describe a situation or task, the action you took and the end result.

What if I wish to change some information on my application?

If you have submitted your application and wish to add to it, or change some information you can withdraw your application, make the changes and resubmit it.

Find tips and advice on interview preparation to help you achieve interview success.


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