ATP- Access, Transfer and Progression to our programmes. Recognition of Prior Learning.
Access Transfer and Progression
Access, transfer and progression refers to the conditions under which a learner may:
- enter our programmes
- transfer to other programmes offered by FPTS (or any other training provider), or
- progress to a higher level programme.
To access programmes provided by FPTS candidates will be expected to meet the following criteria:
- Candidates must be 18 years or older at the commencement of the programme.
- Have achieved a minimum of a Level 4 qualification (or equivalent).
- In the absence of a minimum of a Pass Grade at Ordinary Level in Leaving Certificate English the candidate must provide evidence of competence in written and spoken English (e.g. B2+ CEFR).
Learners who may not be able to demonstrate compliance with the entry criteria may request access by means of Recognition of Prior Learning (see heading 4.4 below).
FPT Skillnet is currently the only FE training provider in Ireland that has training programmes in polymer processing validated by QQI. For this reason, the only transfer options are those that exist within our own programme provision.
Transfer normally means transfer from a major award programme at one level, to another major award programme at the same level.
- Because there is only one polymer processing major award at Level 5 in the Republic of Ireland, (which is Plastics Injection Moulding – 5M3080) there are no transfer opportunities to other related award programmes.
- The FPTS Level 6 awards are in Programmable Logic Controllers and Industrial Electrical Systems. These component awards are part of the Maintenance Skills Technology (6M5154) major award. This award is currently offered by four training providers (source: QQI Infographics). If a learner completes one or both awards successfully with FPTS, they may transfer to the Maintenance Skills Technology major award programme with one of the other providers.
Learners may progress to the Level 6 polymer processing award programme offered by IT Sligo, however, completion of the FPTS Level 5 or Level 6 programmes do not offer preferential or advanced entry to the IT Sligo programme. Advanced entry means the possibility of gaining exemptions from modules or assessments.
FPT Skillnet deliver two Level 6 modules on behalf of IT Sligo, but these are only offered through IT Sligo, and are not offered to the general public. Consequently, the only learners holding these awards are those already participating in the IT Sligo programme. Consequently, our L6 awards do not offer an opportunity for progression.
It should be noted that Athlone IT is the only other institution in Ireland offering nationally accredited training in polymer processing. They offer a Level 8 Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical and Polymer. Entry to this programme is through the CAO system with Level 5 as the minimum requirement. Again, as the FPTS programmes are Level 5, there is no access or advanced entry benefits which would facilitate progression.
Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)
Recognition of prior learning refers to the possibility of gaining entry to a programme in circumstances where compliance with the entry requirements may not be evidenced in the usual way. This may arise for example, in the case of a non-Irish citizen who may not have taken the Junior or Leaving Certificate examinations.
It may also refer to the possibility of gaining advanced entry to a programme (whereby modules or assessments may be exempted).
There is also the possibility of obtaining a full award without having to undertake the modules or the assessments.
All of the above are predicated on the learner’s ability to furnish a verifiable portfolio of evidence to FPTS which will clearly demonstrate that the learner meets the requirements for entry, advanced entry or exemption.
The RPL process for applicants with prior formal, non-formal, or experiential learning is as follows:
RPL for Access.
- Recognition of Prior Learning for access to a programme leading to an award, is a process which may be initiated when a learner cannot provide evidence that they meet programme access requirements. Access requirements may, for example, state a prior level of knowledge in a specific discipline such as English Language proficiency. FPTS programmes require a minimum of Level 4 standard in numeracy and literacy. English language competence and numeracy proficiency may be evidenced by Junior or Leaving Certificate results, or in the case of English Language proficiency, evidence of the achievement of the CEFR B2+ standard will also be accepted. If there is reason to suspect that these minimum criteria are not met or can’t be evidenced by the conventional means above, the learner may request that their own evidence be considered. Such evidence may be a letter of assurance from their employer that their level of numeracy and literacy are sufficient for successful participation in the programme. The learner may discuss this with the relevant programme tutor who will make a judgement. If the learner does not accept the judgement, the learner may appeal to the Centre Manager and/or the Academic Council. Their decision is final.
RPL for Credit, Exemption or full award
- A student must advise FPT in writing of their intention to seek Recognition of Prior Learning. This may be done by e-mailing FPTS at info@ firstpolymer.com. The applicant should identify the programme, and the nature of the application (credit or exemption).
- Evidence of prior learning is provided by the applicant during the application process. The Applicant must authorise FPTS to verify the authenticity of the evidence submitted. Evidence is likely to take the form of a Portfolio which may include certificates, awards, testimonials, employer references inter alia.
- The evidence is evaluated by FPT (typically by the Centre Manager in consultation with the programme tutor). Evaluation will be based on a comparison of learning outcomes for the areas where recognition is sought, and the description of prior learning offered by the learner. FPTS may verify the authenticity of any associated documentation.
- A recommendation will be made with respect to the applicant’s RPL request. Possible outcomes include: Credit Granted/Denied, Exemption Granted/Denied, Award Granted/Denied.
- Unsuccessful applications for RPL exemptions can be formally appealed.
Should a learner wish to appeal an RPL decision, they should formally request this in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Their portfolio of evidence will be submitted to the FPTS Academic Council for adjudication. The decision of the Academic Council will be final and will be advised to the learner in writing. Learners may request an oral hearing, but this must be indicated before the Academic Council convenes to consider the appeal.
Please contact any member of the Network Management Team for full details of the Recognition of Prior Learning process.