The Irish National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ), established in 2003, is a framework through which all learning achievements may be measured and related to each other in a coherent way.

The many different types and sizes of qualifications included in the NFQ are organised based on their level of knowledge, skill and competence. Because all NFQ qualifications are quality assured, learners can be confident that they will be recognised at home and abroad.

Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) has a responsibility to develop, promote and maintain the Irish NFQ. QQI also facilitates the recognition of foreign qualifications.

From 31st December 2016, room leaders in ALL services participating in the ECCE programme will be required to hold a certification for a major award in childcare/early education at a minimum of level 6 on the NFQ, and all staff working with children in the service will be required to hold a certification for a major award in the childcare/early education at a minimum of level 5 on the NFQ.

To register with TUSLA, a childminder must hold a minimum of a major award in Early Childhood Care and Education at Level 5 on the NFQ

The list of Early Years qualifications recognised for the purposes of meeting the requirements of the Regulations and DCYA Childcare Programmes Contracts can be found by clicking the link below:

Early Years Recognised Qualifications

Higher Education

Level 7

Institute of Technology, Carlow  in partnership with Carlow and Kilkenny County Childcare Committees will be offering a Level 7 Bachelor of Arts in Applied Early Childhood Education and Care starting in Carlow (at IT Carlow) in September 2019

This Bachelor of Arts in Applied Early Childhood Education and Care programme which is part funded by Carlow-Kilkenny Skillnet and is designed for those who hold a FULL QQI Level 6 major award in childcare and who are working full-time in the sector with at least 3 years’ full time experience.

Applications for Skillnet funding for 2019/2020 are now closed.

Level 8

IT Carlow also offer a BA (Hons) in Early Childhood Education & Care and a Higher Diploma of Arts in Early Childhood Education and Care.

The overall aim of the programme is to provide students with the knowledge, understanding and competencies required to provide care and education for young children (0-6 years) in a range of Early Years Settings. The general aim is to develop early childhood professionals who have a specific expertise and a specialised knowledge base, competent to deliver and manage quality services to children and families. 

Level 9

IT Carlow also offer a Masters of Arts in Leadership in Early Years Education and Care.

This programme will prepare students and current practitioners for leadership and management roles in the operation of early childhood education services and related public policy.

Applications for Skillnet funding for 2019/2020 are now closed.

Further Education

Level 5 / Level 6

This course/programme prepares students to work with young children aged 0 – 6 in a variety of childcare settings. The award will provide participants with skills, knowledge and competence to work as a childcare professional within the childcare and early education sector.

CE Scheme

Since 2013 there is a CE Childcare Training and Development Programme for CE participants who wish to pursue a career in childcare.  It is a 3-year programme of formal learning and work experience leading to an NFQ Level 5 or 6 qualification in early childhood care and education.

Carlow Early Years Training Scheme can be contacted on 059-9134996.

Training provided by Carlow County Childcare Committee


We are hosting training sessions for all Childcare Providers. These sessions will cover the rules of the scheme and their practical application, as well as compliance requirements for Providers who choose to participate.
Please follow this link to register your place:  Eventbrite, Carlow CCC training

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First Aid Responder (FAR) Reimbursement Fund 2019

Under the Child Care Act 1991 (Early Years Services) Regulations 2016, a new regulatory requirement will come into force from June 1st, 2020.  From this date under Regulation 25, there must be a person(s) who has trained in FAR (First Aid Response) with a trainer approved by the Pre- Hospital Emergency Care Council (PHECC) immediately available to children attending the service.

To support the sector to meet this requirement services can claim back the cost of one staff member attending this training.

The training: on completion of this 3-day/18 hr course, the First Aid Responder will be equipped with the necessary practical skills, knowledge and confidence to give effective life support, diagnose and treat injuries or illness, and maintain care and comfort of a patient who has become suddenly ill or injured in the workplace or elsewhere until the arrival of emergency medical services.

Services can claim back the cost of one person attending FAR (either full or refresher) on behalf of your service.  To do this is easy; you must submit the attached application form with a copy of the FAR certificate and a receipt for the cost of the course. The maximum you can claim is €225 per full course and €175 per refresher course.

CCCs will be processing the payments quarterly; the payment schedule is as follows:

Quarter 1 Quarter 2 Quarter 3 Quarter 4
Application closing date (for payment in that quarter) 14th June 2019 13th September 2019 19th November 2019 13th March 2020
Payment dates 28th June 2019 27th September 2019 13th December 2019 27th March 2020


To apply for the FAR Reimbursement fund, a registered service/ registered childminder must:

  • Have an employee who has completed or have themselves completed, either the full 18 hours FAR course or the 12 hours Refresher FAR course since January 1st, 2019.
  • Have paid for the employee / registered childminder to participate in the training.
  • Must submit a hard copy of the application form, along with a copy of the receipt for training and a copy of the PHECC accredited FAR certificate.

To book a course please call a FAR trainer from the Phecc Accredited FAR Trainer list

To make a claim for reimbursement please use the attached FAR Reimbursement Application Form

Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DEI) Training 

An element of the universal supports (Levels 1-3) for the early years sector includes a new Inclusion Charter underpinned by updated Diversity, Equality and Inclusion Guidelines for Early Childhood Care and Education. 

Funding has been made available under the AIM programme to provide for training for all service providers on the guidelines and charter.

The training available will be a 15hr programme on Equality Diversity and Inclusion and will be delivered free of charge by Carlow CCC, contact 059 9140244 for more information.

National Síolta Aistear Initiative

The National Síolta Aistear Initiative (NSAI) has been developed to provide central support and coordination of Síolta and Aistear implementation across the early childhood sector. The initiative has two strands. The first will focus on Síolta, including the introduction of Síolta awareness raising workshops and the expansion of the Síolta Quality Assurance Programme (QAP). The second strand relates to Aistear and will see the development of workshops and coaching to support practitioners to use Aistear in their setting. Carlow CCC under the NSAI offer the following support to Early years services in Carlow:

  • The Síolta Aistear Practice Guide Introductory Workshop
  • Síolta awareness raising workshops
  • Aistear Workshops
  • Aistear Síolta Mentor support
  • Síolta Quality Awareness Programme (QAP)

This programme aims to support you in becoming more familiar with Síolta, the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and aid you and your team to effectively use the framework to develop and maintain high quality practice in all aspects of your service.

Child Protection Training

Children First, National Guidance for the Protection and Welfare of Children 2017, applies to all those working in a voluntary or paid capacity with children and families. It outlines the roles and responsibilities in relation to recognising, responding and reporting child protection and welfare concerns.

The full Enactment of the Children First Act (2015) has resulted in significant changes for those employed in the Early Years Sector.  With a legal responsibility for organisations to have a Child Safeguarding Statement in place and the identification of those employed in Early Years Services as Mandated Persons, the Always Children First Foundation Module has been updated to reflect these and other important changes.  Trainers from Carlow County Childcare Committee have completed their training and are now ready to roll out the updated module to Early Years Providers and in particular, to Designated Liaison Persons (DLP) and Deputy Designated Liaison Persons (DDLP).   A prerequisite of attending this training is that participants have completed the Tusla E Learning Children First Programme and CCC’s will ask that participants send a copy of their cert to the CCC prior to attending the training.

Carlow CCC’s next Always Children First Foundation Training takes place on:

Thursday 28th March, 9.30-4.30, Enterprise House, O’Brien Road, Carlow.

Contact Carlow CCC on 059 9140244, email connie@carlowccc.ie to book a place.

Ireland’s National Child Protection and Welfare Guidance Training

It is recommended that everyone involved in early years services including staff, board members and volunteers complete the Tusla Children First e-learning programme

The  Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years programme, LINC, is a Level 6 Special Purpose Award (Higher Education), that is designed to support the inclusion of children with additional needs in the early years. The course is offered for free to people working within early years education and is fully funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. Once qualified, graduates will perform the role of Inclusion Coordinator within their early years setting.

The development of the programme is part of a government response to local, national and international demands for high quality education and training leading towards graduate pathways in the combined field of early childhood care and education (ECCE). The programme seeks to address the need for continuing professional development (CPD) in relation to the inclusion of children with additional needs.

LINC is a free (fully funded) higher education blended-learning programme designed for early years teachers, to promote the inclusion of children with additional needs. After completing the programme, graduates will carry out the role of Inclusion Coordinator and will also meet the educational requirement for room leader status. Once a qualified graduate is working within an early years setting as the INclusion COordinator, the setting will be entitled to an extra capitation payment of €2 per ECCE/CCS/TEC qualified child. Further information about the programme can be found by visiting the LINC programme website www.lincprogramme.ie.