The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) provides a structure 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.
The NFQ, in place since 2003, illustrated by the "fan diagram" 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. The framework encompasses qualifications obtained in school right through to PhD level. The institutes of technology offer qualifications from level 6 through to level 10 on this framework.
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. Therefore the NFQ gives the learner great flexibility. All qualifications in the NFQ are recognised at home and abroad. 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.
For more information visit www.nfq.ie