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About the course

Learn to design, install, maintain and support communication networks within an organisation or between organisations on this Level 4 Network Engineer apprenticeship programme – equipping you with industry-recognised skills to support you in your chosen career.

Network engineers need to maintain high levels of operation of communication networks in order to provide maximum performance and availability for their users, such as staff, clients, customers and suppliers.

This innovative and exciting apprenticeship programme will enable you to build your technical knowledge of the principles of networking and protocols, while being able to apply and test them at the same time.

You’ll gain the knowledge to be able to design, configure and secure simple networks from well-defined specifications, including switches, routers and firewalls. You’ll also cover testing and adjusting network systems through monitoring tools and troubleshooting by identifying network issues to enhance network performance.

You’ll be prepared and tested academically through interpreting written requirements and technical network specifications for maintaining accurate records of network activities. In addition, logging in and responding to network service calls and providing technical network support and solutions will enable you to develop your analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to communicate effectively within the working environment.

Understanding networking engineer duties such as how algorithms work, data and expanding maths skills for binary will help to prepare you for future opportunities within the industry.

In addition to these academic studies, apprentices must achieve one internationally recognised vendor or professional qualification. To help apprentices achieve this, we are offering CISCO CCNA 1 and 2 which cover the basics of networking, as well as routing and switching essentials.

We currently offer the network engineer pathway aligned to the Institute for Apprenticeships standard.

Find out more about apprenticeships at Solent

This course has access to Solent's specialist facilities.
Specialist facilities
You can apply direct to Solent University for this course.
Apply direct
After successfully completing your studies, there's an opportunity to continue your studies at Solent.
Further studies
You can study this course part-time.
Part time option
This course is an apprenticeship, which is a course that is a blend of study and work. All apprentices must be in employment.

We offer industry ready recognised skills from companies such as CISCO for networking and the E-C Council for security.

What does this course lead to?

This course can lead to roles such as network technician, network engineer, systems engineer and network administrator roles.

Who is this course for?

This course is ideally for individuals working in a junior support role in a field related to network engineering, who are passionate and eager to expand their knowledge and networking skills.

Facts and figures

Fees icon

Fees and costs

Tuition fees

Businesses with an annual payroll above £3million will be classed as a levy paying employer and will be able to use funds accrued in their digital apprenticeship service (DAS) account for payment of the training. Please contact us for guidance on fees if you are a non-levy employer which will cover at least 95% of the costs.

The programme cost for 2021/22 is not yet available. For guidance, the 2020/21 programme cost was £17,000.

You can find out more about funding an apprenticeship and the apprenticeship levy in our guide for employers.

Graduation costs

For graduates in 2020, there is no charge to attend graduation, but you will be required to pay for the rental of your academic gown (approximately £45 per graduate, depending on your award). You may also wish to purchase official photography packages, which range in price from £15 to £200+. Graduation is not compulsory, so if you prefer to have your award sent to you, there is no cost. Extra guest tickets will go on sale after results publication and will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis. The cost per ticket was £15 in 2019, but this fee is subject to change for future years. Please note, we do not guarantee there will be any extra tickets available to purchase.
Key entry requirements icon

Key entry requirements

    Entry to this apprenticeship is only available with the support of an employer. Those who are interested in taking this course should speak to a line manager or staff development representative.

    Individual employers will set the selection criteria, but this is likely to include A levels, a Level 3 apprenticeship or other relevant qualifications, and relevant experience.

Got a question about this course?

Contact our Solent team:

If you are a UK, EU or EEA applicant please contact 023 8201 5066 If you are an international applicant please contact 023 8201 5066

How to apply

If you are an employer or a potential apprentice and would like to have an in-depth conversation with us about potential opportunities, please send a message to or call 023 8201 5066.

If you would like more general information about apprenticeships, please see our apprenticeship homepage.

What you'll study

Year one

Core modules
  • Introduction to Networking
    Introduction to Networks is designed to develop the skills necessary to plan and implement small networks across a range of applications.  
  • Routing and Switching
    This module introduces the fundamentals of enterprise Local Area Networks (LANs), the technologies available to implement them, and the terminology used to discuss them.
  • Problem Solving through Programming
    This module introduces you to software implementation through the process of understanding how to solve problems using programming.
  • Network Applications
    The subject of computer networking involves either hardware, in the form of network devices such as routers, or software, in the form of network operating systems and applications. It is important for networking specialists to have knowledge of both aspects. This module is designed to cover the latter.  

Year two

Core modules
  • Cyber Security Essentials
    The network security threat environment is constantly evolving with new tools and techniques becoming available every day.  The module offers an opportunity to develop the blend of skills, ranging from specialist technical to social engineering, necessary to counter those threats.  
  • Computer Project
    The core module represents the last taught module in the Level 4 Apprenticeship and offers the student the opportunity to bring together their knowledge and skills into a real-world based project within the discipline of their subject area. 


Apprenticeship students here at Solent University have access to our technology labs and software packages. These include our CISCO-certified networking and security labs, the E-C Council lab, media technology labs, development centres and usability testing environments.

You’ll also have full access to our general facilities. These include a 24-hour library, computer resource centres, bookable study spaces and comprehensive sport and exercise facilities. You’ll also have access to our student support and career development services.

Apprentices will gain essential professional skills in networking.

Industry links

Many employers have been involved in the creation of the Network Engineer apprenticeship standard including:IBM, Accenture, BA, BT, Capgemini, Cisco, Fujitsu, HP, John Lewis, Lloyds, Microsoft, NCA, The Royal Signals, Telefonica, The Test Factory, Virgin Media, Visa, BCS - Chartered Institute of IT.

At Solent, we are proud of our many established links with a number of companies within the industry, many of whom regularly employ our students. These links have previously provided our computing and networking students with access to a range of events and extracurricular learning opportunities. In particular, students have benefitted from a high-quality programme of guest speakers. Recent speakers include representatives from GITHUB, Westermo, CleverTouch, Etch and Zentive.

Get ready to find your place

You can still experience life at Solent at a virtual open day! Hear from course tutors, take virtual campus and accommodation tours, and chat to us live.

Register for a virtual open day