The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) is intended to put you, the learner, at the centre of the education and training system in Ireland. It is important that you are aware of the NFQ, understand what it means for you, and the benefits it can bring.This section of the website highlights aspects that are likely to be of interest to you as a learner. You may also wish to explore further by using the About the NFQ link on the left.
The NFQ: A learner perspective
The NFQ provides a structure (a framework) to compare and contrast the level and standard of different qualifications. This helps you to make informed decisions about your qualification choices and to consider progression opportunities available to you. The NFQ also makes it easier for you to explain to others what qualifications you hold, or are studying for. This becomes very important when you are considering further learning or when you are applying for a job - at home or abroad.
As a learner, you need to be aware of key questions you should ask to identify qualifications that are recognised through the NFQ. This information should be used to influence your education and training decisions for the future.
The NFQ, illustrated by the “fan diagram” above is a system of ten levels. It is based on standards of knowledge, skill and competence and it incorporates awards made for all kinds of learning, wherever it is gained. School qualifications (awards) awarded by the State Examinations Commission, further education and training qualifications awarded by FETAC and higher education and training qualifications awarded by HETAC, DIT, other Institutes of Technology and the Universities are all included in the Framework.
Qualifications in the NFQ are quality assured. This means that you, the learner, can have confidence that your course, and the institution at which you are studying, are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Quality assurance is intended to ensure that all learners have a high quality learning experience regardless of where you are studying.
The European and international dimensions of the NFQ are also very important from a learner perspective. Increasingly, learners and workers are travelling to other countries for the purposes of accessing further learning or for entry to the labour market. All qualifications in the NFQ are recognised at home and abroad. For information and advice on travelling abroad with your Irish qualification, whether for work or for further study, please consult the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland's information leaflet Travelling with your Irish Qualification.
The NFQ is used to compare Irish qualifications with foreign qualifications, thus, acting as a valuable tool for Irish citizens travelling abroad who wish to use their Irish qualifications. In addition, learners or workers travelling to Ireland with qualifications gained abroad can use the NFQ to have these qualifications recognised. The establishment of the European-wide Europass initiative and the Qualifications Recognition service are both significant in this respect.
The NFQ has been in place since 2003. You can visit our Frequently Asked Questions for more information. You may also wish to explore further by using the About the NFQ and the Publications and Resources pages.
If you have any unanswered queries, please contact us via email or telephone.