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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are questions that are frequently asked by prospective students. If you require further information, please do not hesitate to contact your local centre

Why choose National Learning Network?

National learning Network is Ireland’s largest non-Government education and training organisation and caters for over 5,000 students every year.
There are no formal entry requirements. Your training will be individualised to meet your training needs, aspirations and goals.
National Learning Network will offer you supports that will not only help with your training but can assist you in relevant aspects of your life. You will hold onto your current financial benefits and in addition obtain a training allowance/bonus from FÁS or the HSE.

How are National Learning Network courses taught?

National Learning Network programmes vary depending on your needs at the time. Our courses are run not only in the centre, but also in the community, in your own home, and within an employer’s premises. Class sizes are kept small so that students receive individual attention. Students are encouraged to work at their own pace with support from experienced instructors.    

Do you charge for your courses?

No. All our courses are free.

What are the entry requirements to National Learning Network courses?

There are no formal entry requirements. You just need the will to succeed. Some courses do have an assessment period, this is to ensure that the course is suitable for you. Students on National Learning Network courses must be over 16 and under 66 years of age. 

Do I keep my benefits?

Yes. You will keep the financial benefits you currently have. You should contact the secretary at your local centre if you have any queries regarding benefits.

What allowances are available?

Depending on your state benefit and the programme you pursue you will be entitled to a training bonus or a training allowance. This will be discussed with you in more detail before you start. If you have any queries regarding allowances, please contact the secretary at your local centre.

Can I visit a National Learning Network centre?

Yes. Visitors are always welcome. You should ring the centre for an appointment to ensure that there is someone available to give you a tour and answer any queries you may have. Contact details for all our centres are available on this website. 

When do National Learning Network courses begin, and what is their average duration?

The majority of National Learning Network programmes are open entry, which means that you can start at any time of the year. Programmes vary in duration from a few months to three years and you may get an extension if you require it.
The majority of courses are 30 hours per week, although some people attend part time particularly at the start. Normally, the course starts at 9am and finishes at 5pm, Monday to Thursday. On a Friday, courses may finish at 2.30pm in some locations.
Students on National Learning Network courses get 25 days holidays per year (2/3 weeks in the summer and 1 week at Christmas).  We will be happy to advise you of the details of your programme when you meet with us.

Is the centre accessible?

Yes. All National Learning Network centres are designed, developed and selected with a particular emphasis on Part M of the Building Regulations 1997, which deals with access to buildings for people with disabilities.  An in-house building specification also exists for National Learning Network centres. This draws on a combination of best practice, existing use of facilities, Part M of the Building Regulations 1997 and the NDA publication ‘Building for Everyone’.

Is transport provided to the centre?

We endeavour to assist you in attending our programmes. Transport requirements are assessed on individual basis, e.g. location of the service, etc. Please contact your local centre secretary with any queries you may have regarding transport.

What happens when I start a course with National Learning Network?

When you start with National Learning Network you will meet the staff in the centre and other students. This will help you to settle in and make friends.  During the first three months you will get an opportunity to find out if the programme suits your needs and goals. You will be assisted by our staff in developing a plan for yourself that will help you to say what you want and the supports that you will need. 

Are National Learning Courses accredited?

National Learning Network offers nationally recognised qualifications to students in all its courses countrywide including QQI, ECDL and City and Guilds. These cover a wide range of personal development and vocational skills. The type and level of the qualification depends on the course you are interested in.

What happens at the end of the course?

This largely depends on the type of course you intend doing. At the end of our courses most students can choose between employment, progression to further education, or a combination of both.

How am I represented?

National Learning Network believes strongly in students being able to express their needs and goals. We offer support for people who need help in doing this. The National Representative Council (NRC) is National Learning Network’s service user forum. The purpose of the forum is to represent the views and opinions of National Learning Network students and to ensure that they participate in National Learning Network’s decision-making processes. Each centre has a local representative committee (LRC), made up of students from each of the courses. These committees hold meetings on a regular basis to bring issues of relevance to students to the attention of staff and management. The LRC enables students to have a say in how the training, education and employment services they use are run and we would encourage students to get involved with their local committee.

How do I find out more information on National Learning Network and the courses provided?

For further information on National Learning Network and the courses we provide, please contact your local centre. Contact information for each National Learning Network centre is available on this website. Alternatively, please click here to download the National Learning Network Prospectus.

Is there any help available with reading, writing and numeracy skills?

Yes. Support is given to students with literacy and numeracy needs to help them complete their programme.

Looking for help?

If you have a question that isn't answered in the above FAQ, don't hesitate to contact us.