Higher Education Links Scheme (HELS)

Progression an overview - the Higher Education Links Scheme for 2013
All FETAC applicants to higher education programmes through CAO in 2013 are using a new scoring system for the first time from February 2013. The scoring system applies to FETAC level 5 and 6 awards that are linked giving eligibility to apply to first year of higher education programmes.

Some applicants who have accumulated component awards over more than one year may also be hoping to use component awards from two different awards systems, the FETAC (NCVA) awards and the new Common Awards System (CAS).

Progression an overview is a summary of Progression Opportunities for 2013 which contains broader and more detailed information on the Higher Education Links Scheme.

How does the new scoring system work?
The new scoring system applies where all the requirements for the major award are met, i.e. when the specified component awards have been achieved, totalling 120 credits. To calculate your score you must know the credit value of your component awards.

Achievement of each component award is graded, as Distinction, Merit or Pass. Distinction grade is weighted at 3.333°, Merit at 2.222° and Pass at 1.111°.

This is then multiplied by the individual component credit value to a maximum 120 credits, a total of 400 points.
For components with a credit value of less than 5 credits, multiply the credit value by 15.

Components leading to the best 120 credits are scored and applicants are ranked accordingly. The best 120 credits come from minor awards achieved with the highest grades.

QQI forwards all relevant FETAC results to CAO for each applicant, and calculates the best score obtained for each candidate.


 Important Checklist

  • It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the FETAC registered centre applies to FETAC for a major award prior to application to CAO
  • Applicants MUST check both the individual higher education institution and CAO websites information to ensure that they meet any special requirements including e.g. achievement of a particular component, and whether the institution requires that all credits are achieved in a ‘single sitting’.


What does ‘single sitting’ mean?
Some institutions require that the 120 credits used for scoring is achieved within a ‘single sitting’‐between 1 August and 31 July of any certification year check the CAO and Institutions website.

Practical steps to calculating your own score

•  List your component awards ranking them in order of Distinction, Merit, and /or Pass to a total credit value of 120
    credits. The best score is achieved through counting the highest grades up to the point of achievement of 120

•  If you have any component awards with a credit value of less than 15, multiply the credit value by 15; e.g. a
    FETAC (NCVA) component might have a credit value of 1. 1X15=15, the equivalent credit value of the majority of
    FETAC CAS awards

•  Multiply the credit value by the grade weighting. It is simplest to do this by scoring 3 for Distinction, 2 for merit and
    1 for Pass, multiplying the total by 10 and dividing by 9

•  View worked examples here

Rules for eligibility

•  Progression is on the basis of achieving a Level 5 or level 6 major award, with a minimum credit value of 120. 
   Component awards, or achievement of less than 120 credits, will not suffice.

•  It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that their FETAC registered centre applies to FETAC for a major

    award prior to application to CAO.

A major award may be achieved over more than one year. Some institutions require that an applicant’s major award must be achieved and/or scored in a single sitting i.e. over one certification year, between 1 August and 31 July.

Applicants should refer to the individual institutions requirements in this regard. In addition, some programmes in higher education require achievement of specified component awards, specific grades in individual component awards or additional awards such as mathematics. Applicants are advised to consult the CAO website to confirm
specific requirements and with the Admissions Office of the individual higher education institution.

Important Documents
Progression Opportunities for 2013
Progression to Higher Education Courses 2013 - linked awards
Progression an Overview 2013
Scoring Examples 2013

Note: Applicants are advised at all times to confirm linked awards, any additional module requirements, application processes and scoring systems with the Admission Offices of the participating higher education institutions or visit www.cao.ie

FETAC Advanced Certificate - Craft

In addition to the progression links available via the Higher Education Links Scheme, there are also a number of progression routes available to a variety of 3rd level courses for holders of the FETAC Advanced Certificate - Craft.

Detailed information on these progression routes and entry requirements, and on progression routes for Apprentices who have been made redundant after Phase 4 of the Apprenticeship programme, are available from individual higher education institutions. Further information is also available in FETAC's publication Progression from FETAC Advanced Certificate - Craft to Higher Education Courses.

Note: All information relating to linked courses has been provided by the participating higher education institutions and every effort has been made to ensure that it is accurate and current.