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Progression Routes

As an adult learner, you decide what education and training options best suit you. Whatever your situation, adult learning options are varied and designed to be enjoyable, relevant to what you are interested in and flexible to fit in with work and family life.

You can start of with short taster courses to try out different areas for example: computer courses, childcare courses, communications and so on. You can then build on these, progress and and gain more accrediation in these particular areas.

QQI Level 5 & Level 6 graduates are eligible to apply to progress to Higher Education Courses through the Higher Education Links Scheme (HELS) for a place in the first year of a higher education programme.

Understanding how students progress in Ireland through the PLC route can be a little tricky. It's worth noting that up to 20% of all applications to HEIs (Higher Education Institutes) come from the FET sector (Further Educaiton and Training) 

Click here to search progression routes. 

Rules for Eligibility to the Scheme

Level 5 and Level 6 Major Awards are made up of a number of Minor Awards known as components. Different combinations of components lead to different Major Awards.

Each component has a credit value, typically between 15 and 30. A Major Award needs 120 credits, made up by combining components. For example: 8 components of 15 credits each = 120 credits.

  • Progression requires a full Level 5 or Level 6 Major Award, with at least 120 credits. In some instances, progression is on the basis of specific Level 5 or 6 Major Awards.
  • Components (Minor Awards), or achievement of less than 120 credits, will not suffice for progression under the HELS
  • The applicant is responsible for ensuring that their college/provider applies to QQI for Major Award status on their behalf, prior to application to the CAO


Applicants MUST check both the individual Higher Education institution and the CAO websites to ensure they meet any special or essential requirements specified such as:

• A specific Major Award.
• A specific grade in specific components.
• Additional Award requirements such as mathematics.
• That all credits used for scoring purposes are achieved in one ‘single sitting’

What does ‘single sitting’ mean?

Whilst Major Award may be achieved over more than one year, it is important to note that some higher education institutions require that your 120 credits are achieved within a ‘single sitting’ between 1 August and 31 July of any certification year. Check the CAO and individual college websites for specific requirements.

To calculate how QQI results compare to Leaving Certificate points: see QQI Points Calculator

Below is a practical example of how a learner may progress from one level to the next. (The example relates to the Clondalkin/Tallaght area, but it applies to all learners).

Source: "RoadMap to Training and Education in the Clondalkin area"

The model above is a 'roadmap'. It shows the journey for a Learner who wants to pursue a qualification in Computer Science. The Learner starts with a basic level computer course in the local area, and progresses, in a series of stages, to a third level course in a university, and right up to a Doctorate:

  1. Level 3 course - General Learning with IT
  2. Level 4 course - Computer Information Technology
  3. Level 5 course - Computer Programming and Multimedia
  4. Level 6 course - Higher Certificate in Science in Information Technology
  5. Level 7- 8 course - Bachelor of Science in Computing
  6. Level 9 - Masters in Computer Science
  7. Level 10 - PHD in Computer Science
To begin your Learner journey, start by searching our PLC course databaseclick here  

Note: If the course that interests you offers progression pathways to level 6, 7 and 8 courses this green link   will appear beside the course title.

 

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