The Higher Education Links Scheme (HELS) gives learners the opportunity to use their QQI Level 5 or 6 major award to apply, through the CAO, for a place in the first year of a higher education programme.
Universities, Institutes of Technology and some independent Higher Education Institutions offer places through HELS, but in slightly different ways. Universities only offer places from a reserved quota for FET (Further Education and Training) award holders. Institutes of Technology generally accept applications based on any CAS or legacy NFQ level 5 and 6 awards, in open competition with Leaving Certificate candidates. However, they may also offer places through reserve quotas for QQI applicants only,
In addition to this, the Institutes of Technology and some higher education institutions operate an admissions criteria and scoring system for non-specific QQI Level 5 Certificate and Level 6 Advanced Certificate applicants. In addition, some higher institutions may have further education requirements for QQI Progression to Higher Education, so it is crucial that you confirm this and any other specific requirements with the CAO and the Admissions Office of the individual institutions.
The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) provides a way to compare qualifications and to ensure that they are quality assured and recognised at home and abroad.
As well as national frameworks, which help reform the qualifications system in a particular country, there are also European and regional frameworks such as the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and the Qualifications Framework for the European Higher Education Area (QF-EHEA). These overarching systems link different countries’ qualifications systems together and act as translation devices to make qualifications easier to understand across different countries in Europe and beyond. Their main aim is to help people moving from one country to another to work, or to continue their education or training.
The EQF is an overarching framework that links the qualifications frameworks of different European countries.