Information Leaflet

Information LeafletInformation Leaflet


ETBI logo240Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI) on behalf of the 16 Education and Training Boards (ETB’s)are establishing a new national panel of External Authenticators (EA) for Further Education and Training programmes.

The External Authenticator provides independent confirmation of fair and consistent assessment of learners in accordance with QQI requirements and reports on consistency of assessment results with national standards.

In collaboration with the Further Education Support Service a number of information briefing sessions will be held at venues throughout Ireland. During these Briefing Sessions the requirements for the role and the application process will be discussed.

Previous External Authentication experience is desirable but not essential. Interested individuals should have experience of delivering or assessing programmes leading to QQI awards, or associated industry expertise (5 years).

This EA Panel will serve those services in Education and Training Boards providing programmes leading to QQI awards.

Interested? Click here-Information for Prospective External Authenticators

*Note until further notice existing Panels/EAs will still operate at local levels.

Register for a Briefing Session
Map of Briefing Session locations



Applying to QQI for the Validation of Further Education and Training Programmes

Programme Validation

QQI published its Policies and Criteria for the Validation of Programmes of Education and Training document in April 2016, and then revised it in November 2017. In this document QQI provides the following definition:

"Validation is a regulatory process that in essence determines whether or not a particular QQI award can be offered in respect of a provider’s programme of education and training." 

This document comprises two sections: 

1. Core policies and criteria for the validation by QQI of programmes of education and training

  • Part 1 (pages 5 - 28): Core policies and criteria for the validation by QQI of programmes of education and training.
    This part includes information on the prerequisites for programme validation, preparing an application for validation and evaluation, as well as introducing readers to a number of new concepts
  • Part 2 (pages 29 - 38): The core validation criteria (12 criteria with sub-criteria).
    This part states the core criteria against which a programme of education and training will be evaluated (by the provider and QQI). It should be noted that QQI may refuse an application for validation if any one of the applicable criteria, or sub-criteria, is not demonstrated to be satisfied

2. Policies and criteria for the validation of programmes leading to Common Awards System (CAS) awards (pages 39 - 48)

The 10 validation criteria listed in this section are in addition to the 12 core validation criteria for programmes leading to QQI CAS awards. In other words, programmes of further education and training that do not lead to QQI CAS award(s) will not be evaluated against the criteria listed in this section


Programmes leading to CAS awards (under new policy)

As part of QQI's planning for the implementation of this policy, QQI engaged with the ETBI (Education and Training Boards Ireland) QA Strategy Group and the QA Forum. This resulted in the establishment of a working group, led by FESS. The following resources, developed by this working group, are published on the QQI website and are available to support providers in making programme validation applications to QQI: 

  • (Draft) FET Programme Descriptor Template 
  • (Draft) FET Programme Descriptor Template Guidelines
  • (Draft) Evaluation of Programmes against QQI Validation Criteria

These resources are currently in draft form, as they are trialled by those providers making validation applications. Suggestions for modifying and improving the resources may be made to QQI and/or FESS and will be considered when the resources are reviewed. These resources can be accessed here.


Programmes leading to apprenticeships (under new policy)

There are a number of resources to support providers developing apprenticeship programmes (levels 5-9) on the QQI website. These resources can be accessed here.


Programmes leading to non-CAS awards (under new policy)

Providers with an interest in developing further education and training programmes that lead to non-CAS awards should contact QQI.

FESS CPD Calendar for Spring/Summer 2019 (announced December 2018)



FESS is pleased to announce its CPD calendar of events for Spring/Summer 2019. These events are open to all Department of Education and Skills funded providers.

Further information on the events, the target audience and a booking facility can be accessed here.

eCollege Courses

What is eCollege?

eCollege is a SOLAS-funded online training facility that provides a range of high quality interactive online learning courses, available any time through broadband Internet access, for those who wish to learn at their own pace.

eCollege courses are available free of charge to FET staff members within DES/SOLAS-funded, QQI registered providers.

FET staff members can also access free assessment and certification connected to these courses.

One must be registered with eCollege in order to access online courses. 

What other courses are available through eCollege?

A list of the online courses currently available is on www.ecollege.ie and can also be accessed here.


How do you register for a course on eCollege?

FET staff members wishing to access eCollege courses must register with eCollege, via FESS, by emailing the following information to ecollege@fess.ie:

  • Name
  • Centre Name
  • Centre Address
  • Email address
  • Full names of eCollege course(s) you wish to join

Once the above information is sent to ecollege@fess.ie, FESS will forward it to eCollege. Login details to the requested course will then issue from eCollege in due course. Please note that this may take up to 10 working days to happen.