There are a number of important changes taking place in the qualifications system in Ireland. The most significant is the introduction of the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

The NFQ is a system of ten levels .   It is designed to incorporate awards made for all kinds of learning wherever it is undertaken.

Another important change in the system is the reduction in the range of awarding bodies . These are organisations that are empowered to make awards, or award qualifications.

The transparent nature of the NFQ allows learners to compare and contrast qualifications and to plan their education and training and career progression.  It aids employers in recognising and understanding the level and standard of qualifications, acting as a tool for identifying ‘appropriate fit’ qualifications for specific roles.

In exploring whether a course meets your needs, it is essential that you find out what qualification is awarded at the end of the course. What do you need to know about a qualification? You need to know its Level and Type in the NFQ . You also need to know who is the awarding body and what progression routes are available after completing the programme.  This information will help you to judge whether a course will lead you to the outcomes you expect.

The international dimension of this development is important from an individual and an economic perspective. Two significant initiatives have been introduced: Europass and Qualifications Recognition-Ireland which enables the recognition of international qualifications in Ireland.

To learn more about any of these matters you can visit the NFQ website: www.nfq.ie.