QQI Awards in Further Education and Training recover from pandemic impact


Pandemic-associated restrictions and lockdowns have had a significant impact on education and training at all levels throughout Ireland.   

QQI has analysed its QQI Award certification data to gain a deeper understanding of how the pandemic impacted Further Education and Training in particular and how the sector is recovering in 2021. 

The number of QQI Awards achieved in Quarters 1 and 2 of 2020 were compared against the same period in 2021 to evaluate how specific class of awards, providers and fields of learning were affected.  

QQI found that:  

  • The number of learners achieving QQI Awards has grown by 3% following a dramatic fall-off in 2020 of 23%.
  • NFQ Levels 2 to 4 are driving the increase in 2021.
  • The private sector seems to be recovering quickly, with an increase of 4% in its share of the total number of certificates issued in the first half of 2021.
  • Significant growth was seen in the Education and Generic Programmes and Qualifications fields of learning this year; while there was a dramatic decline of 19% in Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction, and 16% in Services. 
  • A surge in learners completing QQI Awards at NFQ Level 5 qualifications in Agriculture was also observed in 2021.
Bar chart illustration for pandemic impact analysis