Learner Info

We are committed to providing a quality learning experience that meets a learner’s agreed training needs. In agreement with the learner, we will try to cater for the learner’s individual training requirements and needs.

Important Information for Learners

As a learner with DONEGAL ETB you can expect:

1. Access to up-to-date and accurate information to help you make informed choices regarding training opportunities.

2. To be provided with information about:

  • How to access programmes, eligibility criteria and training options
  • Programme content and duration
  • Learner supports, allowances, fees, grants
  • Award titles, including their type and level on the National Framework of Qualifications
  • Assessment systems including; ~ scheduling; modification and accommodation for learners; marking; and; repeats and appeals process
  • Your responsibilities relating to attendance, participation and conduct as set out in the DONEGAL ETB Code of Conduct for Learners.
  • Complaints procedures
  • Recognition of Prior Learning

3. Promotion of equal opportunities for everyone and recognise learner diversity.

4. Training programmes to be offered according to learners’ identified needs.

5. In the event of unavailability or cessation of a training option, an alternative option will be explored to meet your identified training needs.

6. Learning to take place in a safe and secure environment.

7. That materials and facilities used will be suitable for the learning programme.

8. DONEGAL ETB to provide quality assured learning opportunities in accordance with the DONEGAL ETB Quality Assurance Policy and Procedures.

9. Assessments on learning progress to be given to the learner in a timely manner.

10. Where appropriate, DONEGAL ETB will discuss with the learner the relevant supports to assist learner progression.

11. DONEGAL ETB to seek feedback on the overall learning experience.

I’m pregnant. What leave am I entitled to?

You are entitled to 26 consecutive weeks’ basic maternity leave. Maternity leave is generally taken two to four weeks before the expected birth. You must take at least two weeks before and four weeks after your expected week of confinement. The expected week of confinement is the week that the doctors expect you will give birth. You are entitled to an additional 16 weeks of unpaid leave immediately after your basic maternity leave ends.

How much notice should I give to DONEGAL ETB about maternity leave?

You should notify your tutor or instructor as soon as possible so that we can ensure that we can support you and your requirements during your pregnancy.

You must give us at least 4 weeks’ written notice that you intend to take maternity leave. You must provide a medical certificate confirming the expected date of confinement. You must tell us in writing that you intend to take the 16 weeks’ additional unpaid leave either;
· on the date that you notify us that you intend to take basic maternity leave; or
· at least 4 weeks before the end of the 26 weeks’ basic maternity leave period.
You must inform us in writing that you intend to return to training at least four weeks before your intended date of return. We will try to facilitate you as far as is reasonably practicable to complete your training. You may have to complete your training at a later date or a different location if your original training programme has finished since you went on maternity leave.

Do I get paid Maternity Benefit or Training Allowances while I’m on maternity leave?

We do not pay Maternity Benefit or Training Allowances during the period of maternity leave. You should contact your local Department of Social Protection office as early as possible to discuss any entitlements that you may be due during your maternity leave. We may advise and give you time to visit your local Department of Social Protection Office once you give us notice that you intend to take maternity leave.

Can I take time off for medical appointments?

As an expectant mother, you may take reasonable time off for medical visits connected with the pregnancy. There is no maximum or minimum amount of time off specified for these visits. You are entitled to as much time off as is necessary to attend each visit. This includes the time required to travel to and from the appointment and the time taken for the appointment itself. You must, where practicable, give two weeks’ notice of your medical visits. You should show your appointment card if requested by DONEGAL ETB at any time after your first appointment. If you receive a training allowance you are entitled to be paid while keeping these medical appointments for the duration of the course.

Can I take time off for ante-natal classes?

You are entitled to take time off to attend one complete set of antenatal classes during your pregnancy except for the last three classes of the set. An expectant father is also entitled to time off, on a once-off basis, to attend the last two antenatal classes.

Health and Safety

We may ask you for confirmation from your doctor that it is safe for you to continue your training. This will depend on the type of training programme you are doing. If a risk is identified, we may suspend all or part of your training in the interest of Health and Safety.

Support for Training

If you have a disability, we have a range of programmes catering for specific needs, in addition other training supports can be provided such as:

  • adaptive technologies, for example screen reading software;
  • suitable furniture, equipment or devices;
  • adjusting or modifying examinations, for example by allowing extra time or providing a reader or scribe;
  • provision of a reader or interpreter service.

It is important that Donegal ETB know about your needs relating to your disability at the time of course selection / recruitment in order to facilitate a discussion about which programmes are most suitable. It will also assist us in providing any additional training supports that are needed.

You are responsible for your own learning and behaviour and are responsible for ensuring that your actions do not impede (negatively affect) other learners’ participation on the course.
What are my responsibilities as a learner?

As a learner you should:

  • be on time for all of your classes and exams;
  • ensure full attendance for the duration of your training and actively participate in training;
  • notify your tutor or instructor if you are unable to attend class;
  • complete and submit all learning activities, assignments and projects on time;
  • undertake the course exams and tests and obey the rules governing the conduct of exams and tests;
  • undertake and complete any coursework and study to be done outside of training hours;
  • identify and tell the course tutor or instructor about any supports that you need arising from a disability or related issue;
  • inform your tutor or instructor of any change to your contact details;
  • adhere to the Learner Code of Conduct;
  • behave in a safe manner and with consideration for the Health and Safety of yourself and others;
  • report any accidents or unsafe practices to your tutor or instructor;
  • respect fellow learners and staff at all times and behave in a manner that is appropriate and conducive to learning; and
  • be familiar with the rules governing learner participation on SOLAS courses.

As a learner you should not:

  • discriminate against other learners and staff;
  • access, send or store unlawful or inappropriate material on training equipment. (You can find information about this in the Computer Resources and Internet Policy);
  • use, consume or be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while at the training location; or
  • carry or use an offensive weapon.

What should I do if I am unable to attend my course?

If you are unable to attend the course for any reason, you must notify your tutor, instructor or employer on the morning of your absence. Craft Apprentices and learners on work placement must also notify their tutor or instructor and employer.

Your tutor/instructor/co-ordinator will record details of your absence on the Weekly Summary Attendance Sheet.

What happens if I don’t contact my tutor, instructor or employer?

If you don’t contact your tutor, instructor or employer and don’t attend training for three consecutive days, it will be assumed that you have left the training course. If this happens your participation on the training course will be reviewed and you may be removed from the course.

What should I do if I am unable to attend my course because of illness?

  • If you are sick and unable to attend your course, you must notify your tutor, instructor or employer on the morning of your absence.
  • If you don’t contact your tutor, instructor or employer and don’t attend training for three consecutive days, it will be assumed that you have left the training course. If this happens your participation on the training course will be reviewed and you may be removed from the course.
  • You will not receive payment for absences related to sickness that are uncertified. To avoid unnecessary hardship, the payment of accommodation allowances and fuel allowances (where applicable) can be continued for the period of both Certified Sickness and Uncertified Sickness, which in its nature wil be for short periods.
  • The payment of supplementary allowances (i.e. meals and travel) can be continued if you are in attendance in the training week (1 day minimum).

What if I am absent due to a medical, dental or optical appointment?

  • You will be paid for reasonable absences arising from medical appointments. These include hospital visits for medical tests and scans, as well as consultant, dental or optical appointments.
  • Payment will require proof of appointment, for example a copy of a letter of appointment.
  • Every effort should be made to limit the duration of the absence.

What if I am absent due to a family bereavement?

For absence arising from the death of a spouse/partner or child you will be paid up to five days compassionate leave if you are in receipt of a training allowance.

For absence arising from the death of an immediate family member, you will be paid a maximum of three days compassionate leave if you are in receipt of a training allowance. Your immediate family is defined as your parent (or step-parent/parent-in-law), brother (or step-brother/brother-in-law), sister (or step-sister/sister-in-law), grandparent or grandchild.

You will receive one day compassionate leave for other close relatives including uncle, aunt, niece or nephew.

Supporting Documentation Required for Paid Absence

We must receive the original copy of a doctor’s certificate within two weeks of the first day of absence due to sickness.

For medical, dental or optical appointments, you must provide proof of the medical appointment before the appointment. In the case of an emergency, you must provide proof the next working day after an appointment.

Deduction of Meals and Travel Allowance for Learners Absences

Deductions will be made to meal and travel allowances based on learner absences. These deductions will be based on the number of meals or journeys that did not take place due to the learner’s absence.

If you are absent due to illness, the payment of meals and travel allowances can be continued if you are in attendance in the training week (1 day minimum).

Certified Sickness Payments to Learners in Receipt of a Donegal ETB Allowance

Payments are made for certified sickness to learners who are in receipt of a DONEGAL ETB Training Allowance. The rules governing the payment of allowances for certified sickness are as follows:

a) For learners in receipt of a DONEGAL ETB Training Allowance that were not in receipt of a disability related payment from the Department of Social Protection before starting the course, the following rules apply:

Once a valid doctor’s certificate is received within the required time, payments are made for certified sickness absence. However, there are some restrictions. For example:

  • A maximum of six days sickness payments can be paid in any rolling three month period.
  • If a learner is absent through illness for longer than six days, they should contact their local Department of Social Protection Office regarding entitlements to benefits.
  • Apprentices should contact their employer regarding any payments they may be eligible for.

b) For learners who were in receipt of a disability related payment from the Department of Social Protection before starting the course, the following rules apply;

Once a valid doctor’s certificate is received within the required time, payments are made for certified sickness absence. However there are some restrictions. For example:

  • A learner with a disability will continue to receive a training allowance for a total of 20 working days certified sick leave in any four month period.
  • If a learner has a total of 20 days sick leave over a four month period, we will review the situation with the learner.
  • If the learner is unlikely to be able to continue the training course, arrangements will be made between DONEGAL ETB and the Department of Social Protection to restore the person’s social welfare payment.
  • Further clarification on the above and any other restrictions relating to a learner’s specific circumstances should be discussed with their instructor, tutor or employer.

he Adult Guidance and Information Service offers impartial and confidential information, advice, guidance and counselling on the educational options that are available to you both within Donegal ETB and with other education providers. The aim of the service is to support you to make the right decisions about returning to education and training and to help you make those decisions within the context of your wider life. If you are unsure about what course to do or need help in finding out which level is most appropriate for you then please contact us.

We provide access to our guidance services at the Donegal ETB guidance offices in Letterkenny and Donegal Town and on an outreach basis by appointment in Dungloe and Buncrana.

For more information please contact:

Donegal ETB Adult Guidance and Information Service
2nd Floor, McKendrick Place,
Pearse Road,
Letterkenny,
Co. Donegal.
Tel: 074 91 78088
Email: roseduffy@donegaletb.ie

Donegal ETB Adult Guidance and Information Service
Ard Scoil na gCeithre Maistír,
Tirconnell Street,
Donegal Town,
Co. Donegal.
Tel: 074 97 25520
Email: deirdremccolgan@donegaletb.ie

If you prefer to do your own research into your education and training options then the following websites may prove useful:

  • www.qualifax.ie – a national database of further and higher education courses provided by the Department of Education and Skills.
  • www.careersportal.ie – an online careers and course database with a useful interest profiler to help you match your interests with course areas and a database of career information.
  • www.studentfinance.ie – an online resource detailing all aspects of funding, grants and social welfare benefits relating to education and training.
  • www.cao.ie – the Central Applications Office manages the national application process for entry to third level study
  • www.susi.ie – Student Universal Support Ireland manages the application process for tuition fees, registration fee and the maintenance grant for for those studying Post Leaving Certificate and third level courses.

Childcare provision is made available under the Childcare Employment and Training Support scheme (CETS). CETS can provide full-time, part-time or after school childcare places for your child and is administered by Donegal County Childcare Committee.

Donegal ETB courses run through the Youthreach, Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS), the Back to Education Initiative (BTEI) and Further Education and Training courses such as specific skills training and traineeships qualify for CETS.

The number of places on CETS is limited and places are allocated on a first come first served basis. You may qualify for a childcare place while on a qualifying Donegal ETB course if:

  • You are the main carer of a child or children
  • You need assistance with childcare in order to take up an education or training opportunity

Under the CETS scheme, the maximum amount a childcare provider may charge per child per week is:

  • Full-time: €25 per week
  • Part time: €15 per week
  • Afterschool: €5 per week
  • Afterschool with pickup service: €15

Services may not charge for weeks where the service is not open.

Donegal ETB Créches do not at present levy an additional charge.

When you apply for a qualifying course you should let the course co-ordinator know that you have childcare needs and want to be considered for CETS. When you get your letter offering you a place on a qualifying course, you will be offered where possible a place in a Donegal ETB crèche. If a Donegal ETB crèche is not available or not suitable, you will be given a list of local childcare providers that operate under the CETS scheme. You should use this letter to book a place for your child or children with a childcare provider.

When your training starts you will get a letter confirming that you have started the course and giving the start and finish dates. You should show this letter to the childcare provider to confirm the duration of your childcare place.

For more information please contact your Centre Director/Course Co-ordinator or Donegal County Childcare Committee on 074 91 23442.


The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) has been designed to allow students to compare and classify qualifications across ten levels ranging from the very initial stages of learning to the most advanced stages. Each level is based on nationally agreed standards of what an individual is expected to know, understand and be able to do following successful completion of a programme of learning.

An awarding body is a national body that has the authority to award a qualification in order to recognise learning which has taken place. There are a number of national awarding bodies that have their awards included in the NFQ such as Quality and Qualifications Ireland and the State Examination Commission (SEC) which accredits the Junior and Leaving Certificate. Awarding bodies such as City and Guilds and specific professional industry qualifications in Ireland and the UK have also been included in the NFQ.

The NFQ can help you make informed decisions about which level of course is appropriate for you and to make it easier for you to explain the qualifications you hold and those for which you are studying. This becomes very important when you are considering further learning or entering employment both here in Ireland and abroad.

Common Award System

At each level of the NFQ there is at least one of the following award types:

  • Major Award – the main class of award made at each level which entails significant learning e.g. the Junior/Leaving Certificate, QQI Certificate and Degree.
  • Minor Award – provides recognition for students who achieve a range of learning outcomes but not the specific learning outcomes required for a Major Award. These awards allow learners to build up units of learning at their own pace. These units of learning are called Component Certificates.
  • Special Purpose Award – provides recognition for a specific purpose e.g. Safe Pass certification for health and safety in the construction industry.
  • Supplementary Award – for learning which is additional to a previous award and are used for updating specific skills and for professional development.
  • International Links
    NFQ is linked to similar frameworks in Europe. This helps people considering employment or study opportunities outside Ireland to check the equivalence of their qualification in another European country. There are two qualifications frameworks at European level.
  • The Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area, also known as the ‘Bologna Framework’. This deals with higher education awards (NFQ 6-10).
  • The European Qualifications Framework (EFQ), which deals with all NFQ levels including schools, further education and training and higher education.
  • Qualifications Recognition Service. QQI offers a free Qualifications Recognition Advice Service for those seeking guidance on the academic recognition of awards obtained outside the Irish system. QQI have also developed a system for professional bodies to have their awards recognised in the NFQ.

Awards and Accreditation

Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) www.qqi.ie

QQI was established in 2012 as a new integrated agency responsible for the external quality assurance of further and higher education and training and validates programmes and makes awards for certain providers in these sectors. QQI is also responsible for the maintenance, development and review of the National Framework of Qualifications.

QQI has replaced the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) as the national awarding body for further education and training and the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC) as the national awarding body for higher education and training. From the first certification period of 2015, the wording on certificates will be designated as follows:

  • QQI Award – Further Education and Training Award (for further education and training qualifications at Levels 1 to 6 of the National Framework of Qualifications).
  • QQI Award – Higher Education and Training Award (for higher education and training qualifications at Levels 6 to 10 of the National Framework of Qualifications).
  • Holders of all FETAC and HETAC awards issued prior to the establishment of QQI will continue to be recognised at the appropriate levels of the National Framework of Qualifications.
  • QQI is the main awarding body for courses accredited by Donegal ETB. As the statutory provider of further education and training in Donegal, we offer Major and Minor QQI Awards at Levels 1-6 on the National Framework of Qualifications.

In the list of courses offered by Donegal ETB you will see major and minor awards mentioned in the course description. QQI requires that a specified number of credits be achieved in order for a student to be conferred with a particular award. Course components carry different credit values ranging from 5 to 30 points based on the work required to complete a component certificate. When a learner studies for a major award, the programme of learning must provide a minimum number of credits at each level. The table below shows the number of credits required to attain a major award at Levels 1-6. A learner may be conferred with a minor award at each level where the number of credits attained does not meet the minimum required for a major award.

QQI Level Number of Credits required to achieve a Major Award
1 20
2 30
3 60
4 90
5 120
6  120

 

City and Guilds

City & Guilds are a leading vocational education and training organisation, providing services to training providers, employers, and trainees across a variety of sectors to meet the needs of today’s workplace. City & Guilds offer thousands of vocational qualifications and apprenticeships that are valued by employers and delivered through over 10,000 training centres across the world. City & Guilds courses help individuals develop their talents and abilities for future career progression.

Oxford, Cambridge and RSA (OCR)

OCR is a leading UK awarding body. OCR provide general and vocational qualifications that equip learners with the knowledge, skills and competencies required for employment or further training. Qualifications are developed in close consultation with teachers, industry leaders and government to ensure they are relevant for learners. OCR courses are offered by Donegal ETB in certain programmes to add a further dimension to the development of skills and competencies.

Professional and Industrial Qualifications

Donegal ETB Training Services offers specific industrial and professional qualifications that are required for employment in specific employment sectors. These courses provide students with the knowledge, skills and competencies required to meet the demands of specific jobs. Examples of popular sector specific training includes: Beauty Therapist, Outdoor Activity Instructor and Access to Offshore training.