Country Idealist Profiles

Ireland – The Relationship between Third Level Institutions and the Non-Profit Sector:

Many third level institutions have developed education and training courses or research initiatives directed at meeting the specific needs of the Community and Voluntary sector.  These include National University of Ireland (NUI) Maynooth, Trinity College Dublin, NUI Galway, NUI Cork, University of Limerick, the National College of Ireland and Dublin City University.  There is a growing demand for further development by third level institutions, particularly in relation to non‑degree courses, of education and other supports for the Community and Voluntary sector. 
 
Accreditation of learning in the Community and Voluntary sector:
The volume and range of education/training courses provided to, and through, the Community and Voluntary sector is considerable and growing.  Courses vary in their content and are wide-ranging in scope and format.  Many courses run in the Community and Voluntary sector do not adhere to strict skill categories characteristic of mainstream education and training courses.  Courses are delivered within local communities by organisations themselves and through consultation with Vocational Education Committees (VECs), FÁS (The National Training & Education Authority), external agencies and institutions.  The institutes of technology, second level schools, other third level colleges and universities can all contribute to the variety of courses available to learners in the Community and Voluntary sector. More open and Distance Learning opportunities are developing to meet the needs of individuals in terms of time, pace and location.

The Government `White Paper on a Framework for Supporting Voluntary Activity and for Developing the Relationship between the State and the Community & Voluntary Sector, 2000´  refers to a number of issues that have been identified in relation to developing accreditation appropriate to the needs of the Community and Voluntary sector and within the broader educational context including:
 

  • The Ethos of the Community and Voluntary sector
  • The demand and type of accreditation
  • Accreditation models and options
  • Reference to National Standards/mainstream structure/s
  • Resources/support required.

The White Paper highlights the need for a review of the content and delivery of training to those in the Community and Voluntary sector to be undertaken.  The value of this training should be verified and appropriately rewarded.  A priority for the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI) will be to put in place appropriate accreditation arrangements for the Community and Voluntary sector.  The NQAI will work closely with the Community and Voluntary sector Accreditation Forum and with bodies such as AONTAS (The National Association for Adult Education) and NALA (National Adult Literacy Association) to progress this area. 
http://www.pobail.ie/en/CommunityVoluntarySupports/WhitePaperonCommunityandVoluntaryActivity/file,2200,en.doc

The role of the Community and Voluntary sector in life‑long learning is affirmed in the White Paper on Adult Education Learning for Life.  It highlights the importance of developing links between the Adult Learning Council and the National Qualification Authority as appropriate. 
http://www.education.ie/servlet/blobservlet/fe_adulted_wp.pdf

 
The below link gives an indication of the variety of courses that are available to the community and voluntary sector across the country.
http://www.learningpoint.ie/courses/

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