We are  introducing the new Early Learning & Care award which is the milestone for the new professional standard award for the Early Years sector. This is a 2 year programme leading to the Advanced Certificate at Level 6, and learners can progress to the ELC Level 6 award if they have achieved the ELC Level 5 award or if they have gone through an RPL (recognised prior learning) process. There is a proposed embedded award, a Level 5 Certificate in Early Learning and Care, which can be achieved if learners exit the programme after 1 year.

For the first time in the history of the ELC sector, the workforce will have access to a suite of professional awards from entry level qualifications at Level 5 to honours degree level, that recognise the value of professionals at all these levels working in ELC settings across the country.

It will prepare graduate for a profession which requires a strong commitment to lifelong learning and continuous professional development to meet the dynamic and evolving nature of the context and demands of professional practice in early childhood education and care.


(028) 21644

1 year

Professional Award (2 year Level 6) in Early Learning and Care with embedded level 5 award after one year

Subject to validation by QQI

Manual handling training and certification (requirement for work experience)

QQI Component Maths 5N1833 (available as option in evening for learners requiring Maths for progression)

300 including QQI examination fees. (Medical card holders exempt from QQI examination fee of €50)

  • Yr 1 (Embedded Level 5 certificate)
  • Professional Practice Placement in Early Learning and care
  • Childrens Rights, Legislation and Regulation
  • Early Childhood Growth and Development
  • Curriculum, Play and Creative Studies
  • Understanding and Assisting Children with Additional Needs
  • Holistic Care of Children (birth to six years)
  • Yr 2 (Advanced certificate in ELC)
  • Advanced Professional Practice Placement in Early Learning and care
  • Sociology and Social Policy in Early Learning and Care
  • The Developing Child
  • Curriculum and Pedagogy
  • Inclusive Early Learning and Care
  • Supervision and Administration Skills in Early Learning and Care

Leaving Certificate, LCA or QQI Level 4. Mature students are exempt from Leaving Certificate requirement. All applicants are interviewed and Garda vetted. Police clearance is required for non-Irish nationals. An offer of a place on this course is contingent on the applicant meeting the entry requirements set out here and satisfactory presentation at interview.CERFL proficiency at B2 for access to Level 5 courses for those whose first language is not English

Students will undertake 150 hours of Professional Practice in a minimum of 2 early Years of Early Years settings per annum. The settings will include birth -2 yrs 8 months, and 2 yrs 8 months to 6 years. All Professional Practice placements must be carried out with an ELC provider currently registered with TUSLA. Learners must be garda vetted before going on the placement. Learners must complete the current Children First E-Learning programme before going on placement.

  • Childcare seminars and conferences
  • Practical workshops in Siolta and Aistear
  • Child Protection training
  • Professional Guest Lectures
  • Educational Field Trips

This proposed curriculum structure ensures there is a clear professional pathway to Level 7 & 8 on the NFQ (National Framework of Qualifications)
See website for details

After Year 1 students will have  a Professional Qualification in Early Learning Care Level 5.  After Year 2 students will have a Professional Qualification in Early Learning Care Level 6.  Students can work in pre-schools and crèches and can work as a Child Minder in the home.

“I would highly recommend the QQI level 5 Childcare course to anyone who is looking to pursue a career in the youth work sector. The course is designed perfectly to give you all the knowledge required for working with children and the support from the teachers is second to none. I have been volunteering for youth clubs for 5 years and felt that I needed to get more education within this area. After completing this course it has opened doors to many other options in education and work.”

Michelle Murphy, Graduate Student

“I completed the FFTAC level 5 in Early Childhood Care and Education in May 2016. I am currently working as a special needs assistant in a national school with children with severe and profound disabilities. I work 5 days a week from 9.15 – 2.00. As I had been out of education for a number of years (too long to mention) and been out of full time employment also as I was a full time mother I found the course a great foundation for going out into the work force. The content of the course meant I had become knowledgeable in childcare areas regarding holistic development, health, safety, creative arts and many other areas. The work experience was invaluable as it meant I became familiar with what was and would be required of me while working within the sector. Before staring the course I was given very valuable advice (by Monica) to keep on top of my work load and not too let things build, I took this advice most sincerely and whilst there where weeks I thought I’d never get through it, I ploughed on and with the help of the tutors and fellow class members I proudly completed the course and am very happy in full time employment till June 2017.”

Annie O'Donovan, Special Needs Assistant

“I am currently undertaking the Honours Bachelor Degree in Social Work, University College Cork. I knew I would have to do a course to upskill and prepare me for University in order to better my chances of acceptance into UCC. QQ1 Level 5 Childcare greatly enabled me to achieve this. Excellent placement opportunities settings are provided to students partaking in Level 5 Childcare. Both the Staff and students in my course ensured that I reached my full potential. My goal is to specialise in the Mental Health area of social work. I would highly recommend Level 5 Childcare to anybody considering furthering their education in order to gain access to professional levels of employment. There are a range of prospects in education and employment on completion of this cours e.g. within the social science field, Occupational Therapy or within the field of disability services for children. It is a great starting point to better enable you to achieve your goals, and with a bit of determination and support you will achieve them.”

Grainne McCarthy, Student