Information for Employers

A technician in a hazmat suit working in a hi-tech lab.

In the ‘war for talent’, RPL is a tool which can help employers to retain employees through contributing to career progression, whilst also boosting employee motivation. By recognising the skills, knowledge and expertise that an employee has learned in the workplace, RPL can help to meet existing and emerging skills needs at a faster pace by avoiding duplication of learning.

Lab technician smiling
Technician working in a laboratory

People are central to Ireland’s economic and social success. Our economy and society are experiencing profound transformation driven by megatrends such as digitalisation and climate change. To build communities and workplaces that are resilient to disruption and ready for future opportunities, we need more people from all backgrounds to participate more frequently in higher education. This requires a higher education system that is more accessible, flexible and responsive to changing employer and societal needs and global forces. RPL is an essential component of such a system and a critical enabler of lifelong learning. RPL recognises that learning is not just limited to lecture halls and labs, but takes many forms including the ‘on-the-job’ learning gained through the world of work.

RPL can help employers and higher education institutions to tailor education and training more effectively for employees, e.g. by ensuring that it is at the most appropriate level of the NFQ and that it takes account of the significant (and sometimes invisible) learning accumulated in the workplace. RPL is a useful resource for employers seeking to retain and nurture talent and for higher education institutions looking to create career-long relationships with enterprise partners and diversify the student population.

A series of ‘RPL for Enterprise’ pilots are running across the sector, with 10 pilot projects operating across 9 universities and institutes. The purpose of these pilots is to stimulate RPL practice with enterprise partners for access and progression opportunities in areas of skills needs. A number of the pilots involve ‘cohorts’ of employees, who may for example have undergone common non-formal workplace training which heretofore has not been formally recognised. Tripartite commitment from the employer organisation, employees and the university or institute is important in developing impactful and sustainable learning solutions. Employers wishing to find out more about what RPL for Enterprise opportunities may be available can contact institutions directly.

Technicians working in a control centre
Staff monitoring production in a control room

Benefits for Employers:

  • RPL is a driver for workforce development. As well as supporting individuals’ career development, it can be a useful tool to address national economic and societal challenges relating to the green transition, digitalisation, automation, and the skills mismatch. It can facilitate accelerated learning and upskilling/reskilling opportunities to meet workforce needs at local, regional, and national levels.
  • RPL may help to reduce the amount of time and cost associated with acquiring a qualification or credential.
  • RPL supports staff development within organisations by increasing staff motivation to undertake appropriate education or training. As RPL acknowledges a person's invisible learning, it can often open up new, and heretofore, inaccessible learning opportunities.
Ronan Horgan, CEO Capital Flow

"I'd a lot of experience in business over the last 25 years, and I'm currently a CEO of a financial services business. However, I hadn't pushed myself to go further in higher education, so I sent that email and was delighted to hear they would consider my application."

Ronan Horgan, CEO Capitalflow, Diploma in Corporate Governance
Ronan Horgan, CEO of Capitalflow, talks about his experience of RPL

RPL for Enterprise Booklet

This booklet features two case studies that explored the successful partnerships between Munster Technological University and Boston Scientific and University College Cork and Tirlán. It's available to download below.