Grace Edge is appointed Project Manager for new national initiative aimed at realising the potential of Recognition of Prior Learning and Lifelong Learning in higher education.

This national initiative is a collaboration between the Institutes of Technology, the Universities, and Technological Universities, and will build a consistent and coherent approach to recognition of prior learning (RPL) within and across the entire public higher education (HE) sector. Funded under the Irish Government’s Human Capital Initiative (HCI) Pillar 3 (Innovation and agility), the project will see the higher education institutions engineer a significant shift in RPL policy, procedure and practice, that has transformative potential for Ireland’s education system to become an international leader in the field. Based in the offices of the Technological Higher Education Association (THEA), the project will play a crucial role in delivering on a range of national and European policy objectives in lifelong learning and meeting skills needs.

To meet these objectives, the project will also require close co-operation with a diverse range of key national stakeholders, including national education agencies, QQI, the HEA and SOLAS; the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (NFETL) and the RPL Practitioners Network; as well as employer and enterprise representative bodies, including Ibec and ISME who are already enlisted as enterprise partners of the project.

Grace Edge has more than 15 years of experience working in a variety of roles in higher education, including in research, outreach, policy, student services, international collaboration and project management. Passionate about lifelong learning, widening participation and inclusion in higher education, most recently Grace has been responsible for leading ‘whole of university’, cross-sectoral and regional initiatives to support national widening participation goals at Maynooth University. An advocate for human-centred policy, systems and procedures, she co-founded Ireland’s first prison-university partnership between Mountjoy Prison and Maynooth University and led a national project to reform and mainstream the DARE (Disability Access Route to Education) and HEAR (Higher Education Access Route) schemes on behalf of participating Institutes of Technology, Technological Universities and Universities.

Ms Edge stated: “I am delighted to lead the development and roll-out of this important and exciting project. There has been excellent work across the sector to develop Recognition of Prior Learning policy and practice. I look forward to working collaboratively with project partners to build on this track record of success and maximize outcomes for HEIs, enterprise and citizens.”

Nora Trench Bowles, Head of Lifelong Learning, Skills and Quality with the IUA said: “We are delighted that Grace will lead this transformative project, helping all higher education institutions to develop a systematic approach to the recognition of prior learning. This is an important step forward in promoting and supporting a culture of lifelong learning in Ireland and meeting skills needs across society and the economy.”

Dr Jim Murray, Director of Academic Affairs at THEA stated: “We are delighted to have someone with Grace’s experience, qualifications and passion for this particular area of higher education join the team here at THEA to run what will be an ambitious and demanding project. We hope to achieve real progress in transforming policies, procedures and practices around RPL across all of our higher education institutions, and in collaboration with industry and enterprise. Grace will bring an energy and knowledge to this role and we look forward to working with her.”


For further information please contact:

Róisín O’Connelll, Head of Communications, THEA: (087) 9193333

Lia O’Sullivan, Head of Communications, IUA: (085) 7141414