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Learner Fund

The Learner Fund is an initiative of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA). Since this Initiative was established in 2014, more than 3,000 early years practitioners have been supported through three rounds of Learner Fund to raise their qualification level in Early Childhood Care and Education.


Learner Fund 4 August 2016


Learner Fund 4 has now re-opened on 4th August and is now accepting application up until 6pm on 28th October 2016.


Following a review of Learner Fund 4, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs have amended the Learner Fund 4 criteria to take account of feedback it has received in respect to the on-going training needs of the early year’s sector and the continuing qualification recognition process.  Learner Fund 4 provides a subsidy to assist learners complete a QQI Level 6 award in Early Childhood Care & Education.


The opportunity to submit a Learner Fund 4 application is being provided to a targeted cohort of Learners as follows:


  • Early Years staff who received a DCYA letter (after March 10th 2016) which confirms that their qualifications do not meet the requirements for the DCYA qualifications list / ECCE Contractual requirements, are eligible to apply for LF4


  • Early Years services who are expanding ECCE provision (additional room(s)) and as a result need a L6 person/s as a room leader – this round of LF4 is open to more than 1 application per service


  • Early year’s staff that holds 5 QQI relevant certified/completed components at Level 5 will now be able to apply for a Level 6 award. To be eligible, it is expected that these applicants will be already known to their respective CCCs and invited to submit an application


 All Learner Fund 4 applications must be made online through the Pobal Learner Fund portal, which can be accessed at:


*Applications should be submitted by employers with the consent of eligible staff members.


 Please note that:


ECCE services who are planning to expand ECCE provision in August 2016 should apply under Learner Fund 4. A signed statement on headed paper confirming ECCE expansion plans should be uploaded with the LF4 application/s


  • Services can make more than one application per ECCE service where room leaders are required for additional ECCE rooms
  • For other leaners who hold 5 relevant QQI certified/completed components or those learners with DCYA recognition letters, ECCE expansion is not a requirement, though to be eligible, it is expected that those applicants with 5 relevant QQI components are already known to their respective City/County Childcare Committees.
  • The staff member/Learner Applicant/s must be currently working directly with children in ECCE service and be the potential room learner/s for the planned new ECCE room/s or session.
  • Staff members who have already begun a Level 6 course can apply/may be eligible (see the Learner Fund 4 August 2016 Information and FAQ)
  • A staff member who was previously approved for a Level 6 subsidy under a previous round of Learner Fund should not re-apply for Learner Fund 4, even if they did not pass/finish
  • A staff member who has already been approved a Learner Fund subsidy for a Level 6 course under a previous round of Learner fund but who did not yet enrol on a course, rather than re-applying under Learner Fund 4, should contact the Fingal County Childcare Committee without delay
  • The service provider/employer submitting the online application should secure the consent of the staff member/s who has agreed to do the course, if approved. (N.B. both the employer and the Learner will need to sign a paper copy of the application form)


See DCYA Early Years Recognised Qualifications information document and list at for more details.


REMEMBER when applying for Learner Fund 4 – New Users must create the account first, then wait for the automated email with username and password and then follow the link in the email to continue with the login.


There is a Learner Fund panel of approved Training Providers who will deliver courses that meet the requirement for the Learner Fund 4. Only courses taken with a Training Provider on the approved panel can be considered for subsidy under the Learner Fund 4.


Fingal County Childcare Committee will review Learner Fund 4 applications and, once approved, issue notification emails. This notification email is a requirement in order to enrol on a subsidised course.


Once approved for a subsidy the Learner Applicant can proceed to enrol with one of the approved Training Providers. An Updated Learner Fund panel list of Training Providers can be accessed on the Pobal Learner Fund portal or through Fingal County Childcare Committee.