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Ireland. VET in Europe – Country Report 2011 - Europa

Ireland. VET in Europe – Country Report 2011 - Europa

of Technology, National

of Technology, National Institutions and other colleges. Over the past number of years, a newFurther Education strand has been formalised comprising a variety of learning opportunities foradults a range of mainly vocational provisions usually organised on a sub-tertiary basis,workplace training and many community-based programmes. According to Eurostat's study 'KeyData on Education in Europe 2002', 'In Ireland all school students are in compulsory generaleducation as no separate vocational stream exists'.Initial and Continuing Education and Training. There is no legal definition for ‘InitialVocational Education and Training’ and ‘Continuing Vocational Education and Training’ in Irelandas these terms are not normally used in the context of the Irish VET system. An important feature ofthe Irish VET system in general, is that there is not a sharp distinction between initial and furtherand continuing vocational education and training for the unemployed and new entrants into theworkforce, whether they are young or older people. Rather, Government policy in general makes adistinction between programmes for young persons and school students, (mainly within the IVETsystem), programmes for the unemployed (whether young or older) and programmes for persons inemployment, (mainly CVET).There is no IVET element in formal lower school- based secondary education. In Ireland IVET isfocused primarily on the education and training of young persons, aged 15-20, who have generallycompleted compulsory secondary level education and who have not yet significantly engaged withthe labour market, excluding apprenticeship. It also includes for example initial training for theprofessions such as for lawyers and accountants.CVET generally caters for a diverse range of adult learners and fields of learning and takes place ina range of locations, including institutes of further education, training centres, community-basedlearning centres and in the workplace. It is often undertaken on a part-time basis. The largestproviders of both IVET and CVET are the regionally-based Vocational Education Committees(VECs), which mainly provide Post Leaving Certificate (PLCs) courses as well as the VocationalTraining Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) a ‘second chance’ education programme that providescourses for unemployed people, and FÁS, the Irish Training and Employment Authority, whichprovides occupational and skills training for adult unemployed and jobseekers. Learning that takesplace at the initiative of the individual e.g. evening classes, and enterprise-based training, wouldalso fall under the category of CVET.First Stage of Tertiary or Higher Education (ISCED 5). Includes tertiary programmes with: (a)academic orientation (type A), which are largely theoretical; (b) occupational orientation (type B),usually shorter than type A and geared towards either entry to the labour market or on to higherqualifications.ISCED 5A programmes provide access to advanced research studies and professions with high skillrequirements. Programmes at level 5A in Ireland lead to an Honours Bachelor Degree (NQF 7 Level8, a Post-Graduate Diploma or a Master’s Degree (both at NQF Level 9). Level 5 A programmeswith academic orientation are typically outside the scope of VET.ISCED 5B programmes prepare students for direct entry into a specific occupation or entrance tohigher qualifications. Programmes at level 5B lead to awards such as Higher Certificate (NQFLevel 6 HETAC awards) or Ordinary Bachelor Degree (NQF Level 7 award).Entry to ISCED level 5 normally requires successful completion of ISCED levels 3 or 4.7 NQF awards relate to awards on the Irish Framework of Qualifications.16

Lower Secondary Education (ISCED 2). Lower secondary education generally continues thebasic programmes of primary, although teaching is typically more subject-focused, often employingmore specialised teachers to conduct classes.Programmes at ISCED Level 2 comprise students enrolled in the Junior Cycle of second leveleducation and lead to awards such as the Junior Certificate at NQF Level 3.Occupation. Group of activities that necessitate a homogeneous series of techniques and skillswithin a specific field and speciality. Source: Cedefop, working definition.Post-secondary (non-tertiary) education (ISCED 4). In Ireland, further education and training(FET) falls within this category. ‘Further education’ is defined by the Government sponsoredExpert Group on Future Skills Needs as ‘education which is post-compulsory and of a vocationalnature’. According to the definition contained in the ‘Qualifications (Education and Training)’ Act1999’ ‘further education and training’ means education and training, other than primary or postprimaryeducation or higher education and training’.Further education and training generally embraces education and training which occurs outside thegeneral and higher education systems, and it provides vocationally focused learning, based on theneeds of individuals and it also seeks to provide education and training that reflects national,regional, community and sectoral skills needs, such as those required for the tourism andagricultural sectors. It is characterised by flexible modes of delivery, and is built upon modular/unitsystems that provide opportunities for credit accumulation. (Many of the qualifications available inthe further education sector are modularised to allow students and trainees to accumulate unitstowards full qualifications).Programmes at ISCED level 4 include - students enrolled on Post Leaving Certificate (PLC)courses, Teagasc and Secretarial courses as well as FETAC Advanced Certificate (NFQ Level 6)which includes Apprenticeships.Prevocational or pre-technical education focuses on basic skills, such as numeracy and literacyand is generally at NFQ Level 3 FETAC Awards.Profession. Professional activity or group of professional activities, access to which, the pursuit ofwhich, or one of the modes of pursuit of which is subject, directly or indirectly, by virtue oflegislative, regulatory or administrative provisions to the possession of specific professionalqualifications.Source: European Parliament and Council of the European Union (2005). Directive 2005/36/EC ofthe European parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professionalqualifications.Qualification. The Irish National Framework of Qualifications is required in law to be based onlearning outcomes. Section 7 of the Qualifications Act requires the Qualifications Authority ‘toestablish and maintain a framework . . . for the development, recognition and award ofqualifications in the State based on standards of knowledge, skill or competence’. Under section 8,the Authority is required to ‘establish policies and criteria on which the framework of qualificationsshall be based’. In its Policies and Criteria for the Establishment of the National Framework ofQualifications (2003), the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI) determined thataward standards are the expected outcomes of learning, inclusive of all education and training. Theyconcern the knowledge, skill and competence that are expected from the learner who is to receivean award. They concern both general standards (for a level in the Framework or an award-type) andthe specific standards for named awards in particular subjects or fields of learning’.Source: European Qualifications Framework Referencing of the Irish Framework of17

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