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'Have your Say... 
Join the Conversation'


QQI, as custodian of the Irish National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ), has a statutory role to promote, develop and review the NFQ. 

We think that it is timely to reflect upon and to restate our national ambitions for the NFQ. We want to know what you think about the future of the NFQ. We want to explore new ways of collaborating with you so as to ensure that the NFQ remains fit for purpose. Have your say, join the conversation.



The Irish National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) was established in 2003. The NFQ represents the national consensus about the kinds of knowledge, skill or competence we expect from qualifications in Ireland.

Based on a system of ten levels, the NFQ makes it easier to understand and compare qualifications. The NFQ is used to describe qualifications and qualifications pathways for learners and other users of qualifications. By making learning requirements more explicit, the NFQ can also make a contribution to the quality of qualifications and their recognition.

Over 150 countries have now developed a national qualifications framework. It looks like qualifications frameworks are here to stay.

Ireland was one of the first countries to do so, and today the Irish NFQ is well connected internationally to qualifications developments in the UK, across Europe and beyond. International connections matter as skills and qualifications become increasingly mobile.



Following the introduction of the NFQ in 2003, we have seen many changes across the national qualifications and skills landscape.


Over 2.5 million major awards in general, further and higher education and training have been made across the 10 levels of the NFQ.


Today 47% of 25-34 year olds in Ireland have a higher education and training qualification.


12% of Irish people have spent some time studying abroad in the EU.


32% of Irish people have spent some time working abroad in the EU.


EU citizens from outside of Ireland account for over 10% of total employment in Ireland.


The future looks set for continued growth in the demand for high quality qualifications and skills that are recognised at home and abroad...

  • Demographic trends suggest continued growth in education enrolments over the next decade. 
  • Demand for places in higher education is expected to increase by a further 27% by over the next ten years.
  • The number of apprenticeship registrations is set to double by 2020. 
  • In 2020 just 7% of the labour force will be required to have lower level qualifications.
  • Lifelong learning participation rates for 25-64 year olds is expected to increase to 15% by 2025 from just 6.7% today. 
  • Increasing numbers of international workers and students will continue to travel to Ireland in search of career and learning opportunities. Their qualifications and skills will need to be recognised. 

So, where to next for the NFQ?


The NFQ has clearly become an important part of our qualifications system. People tell us that the NFQ has made a positive contribution for learners and that it enjoys broad acceptance and support. Still, the NFQ cannot be taken for granted. While qualifications frameworks are still relatively recent reforms, we do know that they need to be maintained and further developed so that they remain relevant and responsive.


You will be hearing from us again. We will be asking you to participate in our consultation processes, to meet with us and to attend events. QQI will be talking and writing about the NFQ, but most of all we will be listening. We look forward to hearing from you.  

In the meantime, if there is something on your mind about the NFQ, a good news story, a disappointment or a hope for the future, please tell us about it using the feedback button below.