The latest news and information

Learner Fund

March 26, 2014

Pobal, on behalf of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, is now inviting Expressions of Interest from Training Providers for inclusion on the panel of Approved Training, and Applications from Learners for training subsidies for the purpose of the Learner Fund 2014-2015.

The Learner Fund 2014-2015 is being launched by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) to enhance quality standards in Early Years services nationally.
The Learner Fund will provide funding in the form of a training subsidy to assist existing staff working directly with children in registered early years services to attain the mandatory minimum qualification requirements for September 2015.
From September 2015 all staff in Early Years services will need to have full Level 5 qualifications, and all Preschool (ECCE) Room Leaders will need a full Level 6 qualification.  These minimum qualification requirements will mean that established services have a limited period from now to ensure that all staff will be appropriately qualified.



How do I apply for the training subsidy?

See the Pobal website for information on how to apply for the training subsidy.



Grandfathering Period

Under Question 17 in the Frequently Asked Questions section section:

Q.17: I’m due to retire in the next couple of years; do I have to gain these qualifications ?

 A: If you are due to retire from working in the early years care sector within the next seven years, you can apply for an exemption from having to have a Level 5 qualification. Exemptions only apply to Level 5, not to the Level 6 qualification requirement. Arrangements for this will be in place in May 2014.  You can still apply to the Learner Fund for a subsidy in the meantime if you wish,  as you may not be entitled to the exemption.

From DCYA website:


There are some people who have been working with children for many years and who wish to be exempted from the new qualification requirements. As the purpose of upskilling is to boost quality in the best interests of children, it is only possible to do this in a very limited way. The Minister has agreed to waive the minimum Level 5 requirement for a small number of staff who will be leaving the sector within the next 7 years. Individuals who expect to retire between September 2015 and September 2022 will not be required to meet the new qualification levels. Arrangements will be put in place later in the year for those staff to register their intention and to receive an exemption. Full information on this process will be available in May.

n.b Early Childhood Ireland sought clarification from the DCYA and were told ‘ You should advise your members that they will have to wait to apply for the exemption until arrangements are in place. In the meantime they can apply for the Learner fund subsidy as they may not be eligible for the exemption.’


Update on timeframe to meet training requirements

Q 19: What will happen if my course is not completed by September 2015?

Once your course is substantially completed by this date, this will be sufficient to meet the compliance requirements, on the basis that you will complete the course and obtain the
Qualification shortly thereafter.



For further information please see the Pobal website :


If you have any further queries there is a dedicated Enquiry Email for the Learner Fund, which is available for any queries not covered in the Application Guidelines or the FAQ’s:


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