QQI Info to Learners

The following outlined QQI information under the below headings:

  • About QQI;
  • The National Framework of Qualifications;
  • The FRS / QQI QA System;
  • Learner Information;
  • Learner Profile;
  • Assessment;
  • Useful Links.

About QQI

The Further Education and Training Award Council (QQI) was Established in 2001 as the statutory awarding body in Ireland to offer Awards at Levels 1 to Levels 6 on the National Frame Work of qualifications. 

The propose of QQI was to:

  • Make and promote awards on the NFQ
  • Determine standards and award requirements
  • Validate programmes leading to awards
  • Monitor and quality assure programmes and services


Since 2001 Over 1.25 million certificates have been issued by QQI of that 335,000 was in 2011 for over 180,000 Learners. 

QQI and Common Award System

In November 2012 QQI was established under the Qualifications and Quality Assurance Education and Training Act, to replace the 4 existing awarding bodies and quality assurance responsibilities in Ireland (FETAC, HETAC, NQAI AND IUQB). 

A new national awards system called the Common Award System has been introduced and by 2014 all QQI Awards will be part of this system. 

Under the Common Awards System (CAS) all QQI awards will have a common structure, and common characteristics and features such as title, level, volume, profile, assessment and grading. These common awards will be published on www.qqi.ie and available to all QQI registered Providers. Programmes leading to these common awards must be submitted from the Centre for validation and approved by QQI prior to delivery. 

Former awards, originally developed by NCVA, FÁS, Fáilte Ireland, Teagasc and BIM, are currently being migrated to the new format - the Common Awards System. As soon as this exercise is completed for each level, the former awards will be deactivated and will no longer be available as a basis for certification. 

In the Common Awards System, Providers may not offer programmes for certification unless the programmes have been validated by QQI. Validation is the process through which QQI determines that the programme developed by the Provider is fit for purpose; that it will give the profiled Learner the opportunity to meet the standards for the award(s), that it is appropriate to the Learner and that it fulfils the award requirements. 

Each major award under the common award system will be awarded a total set amount of credits and these credits will need to be accumulated through achieving a number of minor awards. 

LEVEL CREDIT VALUES FOR MAJOR AWARDS DEFAULT MINOR CREDIT VALUES OTHER PERMITTED CREDIT VALUES SPECIAL PURPOSE AND SUPPLEMENTAL AWARDS
L1 20 5 10 N/A
L2 30 5 10 N/A
L3 60 10 5, 20 5 and 60
L4 90 10 5, 15, 20 5 and 90
L5 120 15 5, 15, 30 5 and 120
L6 120 15 5, 15, 30 5 and 120

The programme duration will be determined based on the credit value and its recommended length. These will be broken into two sections, directed and self directed hours. Directed hours are the hours directly spend delivering the programme to the participant either face to face or via direct online contact. Self directed hours are where the learner takes control of their learning, this could include work experience, research or reading subject related information. 

Participates will be able to import a limited amount of credits from a level lower or higher than the award they are working towards. The credit value system has been created in Ireland to become more in line with other European countries and to provide learners with more motility and recognition. 

National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ)

National framework of Qualificatons

Levels

The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) is a system of ten levels. Each level is based on nationally agreed standards of knowledge, skill and competence i.e. what an individual is expected to know, understand and be able to do following successful completion of a process of learning. It recognises through the framework learning from the very initial stages to the most advanced stages and all such learning may be achieved in schools or colleges at work or in the home or community. They are called Accredited courses. 

Award-Class

As well as this 10 level structure, the NFQ includes different classes or categories of awards. These are different because they reflect a mix of standards of knowledge, skill and competence. This gives the learner the freedom to build their qualifications using accredited courses in ways that suit their needs. 

There are four classes of award-types:

  • Major awards are the main class of award made at a level. You may have heard of some of these, for example the Leaving Certificate, the Advanced Certificate or the Honors Bachelor Degree. There are 16 major awards in the Framework, which can be seen in the ‘fan’ diagram.
  • Minor awards provide recognition for learners who achieve a range of learning outcomes but not the specific combination of learning outcomes required for a major award. These awards allow learners to build up units of learning at their own pace to meet their own needs.
  • Special-purpose awards are made for very specific purposes. An example of a special-purpose award is Driving - Heavy Goods Rigid.
  • Supplemental awards are for learning which is additional to a previous award. They could, for example, relate to updating and refreshing knowledge or skills, or to continuing professional development.


QQI offers programmes at levels 1-6 and third level colleges and universities normally offer programmes at levels 7 to 10. 

The General Studies module is intended to:

  • Provide breadth and balance in the curriculum
  • Enhance personal development
  • Complement the area of vocational study

The General Studies module may be chosen from the list of QQI Courses (NCVA) Level 5 modules, (provided that it is not an elective vocational module for that certificate) or from the list of locally devised modules developed by the programme provider and approved by the QQI Council. 

You need to be careful and know what award you are getting from a programme. i.e. is it a component certificate or is it a major award? You can generally judge by the number of contact hours. A minor award or component certificate can be completed in 30 or more contact hours. Whereas a major award will take you 240 or more contact hours to complete. However you can be sure if you enrol on a programme which has QQI accredited courses that the organisation delivering the programme has been through a rigorous quality assurance check and that the programme is monitored independently by QQI to ensure they achieve the highest standard. It is important to plan carefully what modules and what award you want to complete in order to maximise your investment and your time in getting your desired qualification. 

FRS Training / QQI QA System

In order to become a QQI Centre an application must be made to QQI. The application consists of 9 policies and 44 procedures, Each QQI centre will have the same 9 policies to follow, however each centre will have their own procedures. It is required for all persons working for FRS Training to be aware of our QQI policies and procedures. 

Please see list of Policies below: 

Communication Policy

It is the policy of FRS to ensure that suitable and effective Communication between Learners, Staff and Stakeholders is catered for. FRS will ensure that communication is effective so that stakeholders have access to relevant, accurate and up to date information. With effective communication, prospective and current Learners can make informed choices, staff can maximise their effectiveness and management can plan in a strategic manner. 

Communication Procedures:

  • Communication with Learners
  • Communication with Staff
  • Communication with Other Stakeholders

Equality Policy

It is the policy of FRS to ensure that the highest standard of equality is practiced at all times in the area of employment and service provision and anti-harassment. In doing so, staff will be suitably trained in the area of equality and will be aware of issues relating to the topic. 
FRS will comply with legislation which prohibits discrimination under the following grounds: gender, marital status, age, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, disability, race and membership of the Traveller Community. 

Equality Procedures:

  • Equality Training
  • Equality Planning

Staff Recruitment and Development Policy

It is the policy of FRS to ensure that staff selected for the development and delivery of programmes and services are suitably qualified and that such staff have access to appropriate supports and further training when necessary. Hughes Consultancy and Training Limited has a systematic approach to the recruitment and further professional development of staff engaged in programme and service delivery. 

Staff Recruitment and Development Procedures:

  • Staff Recruitment and Allocation
  • Staff Induction
  • Staff Development

Access, Transfer and Progression Policy

It is the policy of FRS with regard to access, transfer and progression to enable learners to:

  • Make informed choices regarding programmes on offer
  • Enter onto a programme with recognition of prior learning and without unnecessary barriers
  • Successfully participate in a programme
  • Transfer or progress to another programme offered by the provider or other provider leading to an award within the national framework of qualifications if they wish to.

Access, Transfer and Progression Procedures:

  • Information Provisions
  • Learner Entry Arrangements
  • Recognition of Prior Learning
  • Facilitating Diversity

Programme Development, Delivery and Review Policy

It is the policy of FRS incorporating its mission "to educate and advise accurately and honestly", to ensure that all members of staff involved in the development, delivery and review of programmes do so in a professional manner with a focus on fact based education of learners. In doing so, the needs of learners will be catered for in an honest and open manner. 

Programme Development, Delivery and Review Procedures:

  • Need Identification
  • Programme Design
  • Programme Approval Pre Submission for Validation
  • Programme Planning
  • Programme Delivery
  • Learner Records
  • Provisions and Maintenance of Learning Facilities/ Resources
  • Health and Safety

Fair and Consistent Assessment of Learner’s Policy

It is the policy of FRS to show commitment to carry out assessment so as to be:

  • Consistent with its mission
  • Valid for the purpose of QQI awards
  • Understood by staff and learners
  • Fair to learners, in terms of access and process
  • Internally verified as fair and consistent
  • Externally authenticated as consistent with national standards consistent with QQI assessment guidelines

Fair and Consistent Assessment of Learner’s Procedures:

  • Coordinated Planning of Assessment
  • Information to Learners
  • Security of Assessment Related Processes and Materials
  • Reasonable Accommodations
  • Consistency of Marking between Assessors
  • Assessment Performed by Third Parties
  • Authentication Process
  • Internal Verification
  • External Authentication
  • Feedback to Learners
  • Learner Appeals
  • Results Approval
  • Corrective Action

Protection for Learner’s Policy

It is the policy of FRS to ensure appropriate arrangements are in place for the protection of all learners. 
FRS is subject to the terms of Section 43 of the Qualifications Act as it offers programmes of 3 months duration or more on a commercial basis and has arrangements in place should a programme cease unexpectedly. 

Protection for Learner’s Procedure:

  • Cessation of Programmes

Sub-contracting/Procuring Programme Delivery Policy

FRS may sub contract programme delivery. 
It is the policy of FRS to ensure responsibilities are clearly established. We will retain responsibility for the quality of programmes and will ensure learners are aware of FRS’s ownership of and responsibility for programmes offered. 

Sub-contracting/Procuring Programme Delivery Procedures:

  • Section of a Second Provider
  • Contract Arrangements
  • Reporting Arrangements
  • Monitoring Arrangements

Self Evaluation of Programmes and Services Policy

It is the policy of FRS to show commitment to improvement through regular evaluation and assessment of programmes. 

Self Evaluation of Programmes and Services Procedures:

  • Assignment of Responsibility
  • Frequency
  • Range
  • Learner Involvement
  • External Evaluator

Learner Information

FRS Training gather learner information for booking and certification purposes. You can find details of our privacy policy here. 

How do I know what level to do?

Learner Profile – Level 3

This programme is open to mature and young adult leavers who have either an interest in, or are working in a related role, and wishes to achieve a relevant certificate , or feel they would benefit from developing basic skills in this sector. There are no minimum entry requirements. Applicants will have the opportunity to advise of any special learning requirements on application/registration. It is expected that participants will have a reasonable level of literacy, numeracy and interpersonal skills, and come from a wide range of social and cultural backgrounds. Participants will be expected to engage in some independent learning/practical work outside the formal learning structure of the course. Generally learners engaging in this programme are ready to take on a new task in a personal capacity or role. Learners can follow straightforward instruction/direction and are moving towards independent learning in a small range of areas of interest. They can also read basic short text non-supported and can make sense of information and familiar and unfamiliar tasks can be carried out in familiar and unfamiliar settings. 

Learner Profile – Level 4

This programme is open to mature and young adult leavers who have either an interest in, or are working in a related role, and wishes to achieve a relevant certificate, or are working in a related area. There are no minimum entry requirements. Applicants will have the opportunity to advise of any special learning requirements on application/registration. It is expected that participants will have a reasonable level of literacy, numeracy and interpersonal skills, and come from a wide range of social and cultural backgrounds. Participants will be expected to engage in some independent learning/practical work outside the formal learning structure of the course. Generally leaner’s entering this programme will be comfortable reading, drafting, preparing and understanding personally relevant information, including quantities information. Learners are capable of solving problems independently or as part of a group. 

Learner Profile – Level 5

This programme is open to both mature and young adults/school leavers who have either an interest in or are working towards achieving certification in the chosen area, or are currently working in this area. Participants applying for this award should hold a level 4 and/or leaving certificate and/or have relevant life and work experience. Applicants will have the opportunity to advice of any special learning requirements on application/registration. It is expected that participants will have a reasonable level of literacy, numeracy and interpersonal skills, and come from a wide range of social and cultural backgrounds. Participants will be expected to engage in some independent learning/practical work outside the formal learning structure of the course. Generally learner’s engaging in this programme will be proficient at reading, drafting, preparing and understanding information across a broad range of topics, including quantitative information. Learners may also solve predictable problems well, independently and as part of a familiar and less familiar group and participate well in a chosen area of expertise using a range of tools and procedures, responsibly and autonomously. 

Learner Profile – Level 6

This programme is open to mature and young adult learners who have either an interest in this area, or are working in a related role, and wish to achieve a relevant certificate. Entry requirements are a relevant Level 5 qualification and/or relevant life experience. Applicants will have the opportunity to advice of any special learning requirements on application/registration. It is expected that participants will have a reasonable level of literacy, numeracy and interpersonal skills, and come from a wide range of social and cultural backgrounds. Participants will be expected to engage in some independent learning/practical work outside the formal learning structure of the course. Generally leaner’s entering this programme can fluently read, draft, prepare and understand complex information, including quantities information, that is personally relevant and reflecting a broad knowledge base. Learners can also solve problems well, independently and as part of a range of different groups, accepting personal responsibility for the quality of the outcome. 

What are the different types of assessments needed in order to achieve certifications?

Portfolio / Collection of Work

A portfolio or collection of work is a collection and/or selection of pieces of work produced by the learner over a period of time that demonstrates achievement of a range of learning outcomes. The collection may be self-generated or may be generated in response to a particular brief or tasks/activities devised by the assessor. 

Skills Demonstration

A skills demonstration is used to assess a wide range of practical based learning outcomes including practical skills and knowledge. A skills demonstration will require the learner to complete a task or series of tasks that demonstrate a range of skills. 

Examination - Theory

An examination provides a means of assessing a learner's ability to recall and apply knowledge, skills and understanding within a set period of time and under clearly specified conditions. A theory-based examination assesses the ability to recall, apply and understand specific theory and knowledge. 

Project

A project is a response to a brief devised by the assessor. A project is usually carried out over an extended period of time. Projects may involve research, require investigation of a topic, issue or problem or may involve process such as a design task, a performance or practical activity or production of an artefact or event. 

Assignment

An assignment is an exercise carried out in response to a brief with specific guidelines as to what should be included. An assignment is usually of short duration and may be carried out over a specified period of time. 

Learner Record

A learner record is the learner's self-reported and self-reflective record in which he/she describes specific learning experiences, activities, responses and skills acquired. 

Useful Links

QQI - The new Authority for Quality and Qualifications in Ireland 

QUALIFAX - Qualifax is Ireland’s National Learners’ Database for training programmes in Ireland 

Fetch – Further Education and Training or FET, offers a wide variety of life-long education options to anyone over 16 advertised on Fetch Courses.

Solas - Solas offer a range of training courses suited to the needs of jobseekers looking for employment

NFQ - The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) provides a way to compare qualifications 

SKILLNETS - Skillnets is a state funded, enterprise-led support body dedicated to the promotion and facilitation of training and upskilling as key elements in sustaining Ireland's national competitiveness 

QUALREC - Qualification Recondition Ireland