Recognition of Prior Learning

Learners may wish to have their prior learning considered for purposes of access, exemptions, or credit towards an award.

Recognition of prior learning for access 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.

Recognition of prior learning for exemption refers to the possibility of gaining advanced entry to a programme (whereby modules or assessments may be exempted).

Recognition of prior learning for a full award refers to the possibility of obtaining a full award without having to undertake the modules or the assessments.

Note: FPTS does not offer RPL for full awards. Should such a request be made by a learner, FPTS will have to liaise directly with QQI for guidance.

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 or Exemption

  1. A student must advise FPTS in writing of their intention to seek Recognition of Prior Learning. This may be done by e-mailing FPTS at info@ The applicant should identify the programme, and the nature of the application (credit or exemption).

  2. 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.

  3. The evidence is evaluated by FPTS (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.

  4. A recommendation will be made with respect to the applicant’s RPL request. Possible outcomes include:

    1. Credit Granted/Denied

    2. Exemption Granted/Denied.

  5. Unsuccessful applications for RPL exemptions can be formally appealed.

RPL Appeals

Should a learner wish to appeal an RPL decision, they should formally request this in writing to 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.