Press Release

Building on the Transformative Success of Recognition of Prior Learning

January 17, 2024
Grace Edge (RPL) with Hugh McAtamney and Claire McBride (TU Dublin Enterprise Academy)

'Navigating the RPL Journey: Engaging with Employers', an event organised by the National Recognition of Prior Learning and TU Dublin Enterprise Academy, will took place on Tuesday 16 January at Technological University Dublin and will served as a vibrant forum for RPL leaders and practitioners to discuss the role of Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in bridging the gap between higher education and the workforce, addressing skill shortages, and advancing talent development. 

Rapid technological advancements and shifting market demands can create significant skills gaps and adversely affect a talent pipeline. Learning happens everywhere, especially on the job or in the workplace. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) provides a means to formally recognise, and credit skills and knowledge gained through work, study, and life experience.  

RPL can be transformative for individuals who may not have engaged significantly in education, but who have gained valuable knowledge, skills and competences throughout their work and life experiences. For enterprise, recognition of prior learning provides pathways for staff and career development.   

Many in higher education realise the great benefits of RPL to employers and employees but may not know how best to engage with enterprise on this matter and what the possibilities might be, what issues they should be aware of, and what if any restrictions or barriers might exist. 

The National RPL in Higher Education Project and TU Dublin’s Enterprise Academy are both HCI Pillar 3 projects funded by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Science and Innovation and are at the forefront of addressing priority skills needs through innovative educational collaborations. 

“Validation of prior learning drives personal growth while democratising access to both education, workforce participation and professional development. The event marries empirical and theoretically based contributions demonstrating how a widening portfolio of approaches to Recognition of Prior Learning benefits individuals and society by ensuring that diverse types of learning are duly acknowledged and celebrated.” said Dr. Claire  
Mc Bride, Head of TU Dublin’s Enterprise Academy, who opened the event. 


Grace Edge, Director of the National Recognition of Prior Learning Project, shared the vision behind this initiative: “Our aspiration for this event was to foster greater awareness and understanding of RPL among higher education professionals, encouraging its inclusion in the ‘menu of options’ when engaging with employers”. 

The event will featured a showcase of the innovative partnership between Screen Ireland and TU Dublin’s Enterprise Academy, a prime example of successful collaboration addressing skills needs through Work-Based Learning and RPL. 

Hugh McAtamney, Senior Engagement Manager in Creative and Cultural Sectors at TU Dublin Enterprise Academy emphasises the broader impact: “RPL enables enterprises, in partnership with academia, to translate real-world expertise into accredited certification, fostering the development of the talent pipeline and opening doors to further education and lifelong learning opportunities”.  

Global perspectives were provided by keynote speaker Dr. Balzhan Orazbayeva of the University Industry Innovation Network and Susan Forseille from Thompson Rivers University, Canada. Additionally, Claire McGee from Ibec will address RPL's alignment with employer needs and industry trends. 

A panel discussion and Q&A session led by journalist Kate Shanahan provided insights from representatives from Screen Ireland, Optum, ATU, and TU Dublin. This gave professionals in enterprise education, lifelong learning, upskilling, recruitment, and quality assurance an opportunity to better understand how to engage with RPL in the context of modern education and workforce development. 


The presentations from guest speakers are now available here. Reflect on the practicalities and success factors of RPL from within Ireland and internationally.