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New Level 3 Certificate in Irish Sign Language.  Units 320, 321, and 322.  Assessed by examination rather than portfolio.  280 hours in total, 28 credits in total - receptive skills and productive skills. Level 3 NVQ in Irish Sign Language uses the British National Language Standards (CILT, 2005), which define competent performance in British Sign Language (BSL) and Irish Sign Language (ISL) skills both in receptive (Unit 311, 14 credits) and productive (Unit 312, 14 credits) units.

Successful completion of this qualification can be used as evidence of the language skills needed in order to operate independently and at an advanced level in the target language, and is useful for those who work with Deaf people (for example, social workers, teachers for the Deaf, communicators, voluntary workers, workers within Deaf organisations, schools, private companies and others).

The candidate must be able to demonstrate competence at Level 3 of the National Language Standards.  This means that s/he will be able to understand and express information, ideas and opinions about a variety of subjects, and deal with a range of work tasks.

The qualifications are accredited by Ofqual (The British Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator). The Awarding Body is Signature. The Qualifications are recognised on the British National Qualifications Framework, and are mapped on the European Qualifications and Credits Framework, QCF.  The National Qualifications Authority of Ireland have mapped the qualification onto the Irish National Framework of Qualifications.

Levels 1 to 3 are language courses to build learners language skills and knowledge of Irish Sign Language. Professional level training awards NVQ Levels 3 and 6 National Vocational Qualifications in Irish Sign Language uses the British National Language Standards (CILT, 2005), which define competent performance in Irish Sign Language skills in both receptive and productive units.   NVQs are an assessment process.

Structure for Delivery

NVQs were originally designed to recognise the skills, knowledge and experience of people who had been working for many years and had acquired a large wealth of experience which had not been accredited.  Therefore it is possible for an individual to register with us solely for the purposes of undertaking assessments in order to demonstrate the required skills, knowledge and experience.  The minimum time possible in which to complete the building of evidence criteria is 10 weeks, but 1-year working at it on a part-time basis is more typical.

However, we find that the vast majority of people need to develop their skills to the standard of NVQ Level 3 and so we provide a preparation course.  This course is entitled Level 3 Skills & Knowledge Development and is normally delivered over the academic year.

It should be noted that NVQs are flexible and candidates are not restricted to the academic year.  One to one sessions in person or on-line may be booked throughout the year.  Each candidate is assessed prior to registering to ensure that an appropriate personal learning plan is agreed.  On average, studying part-time, candidates typically complete the Skills & Knowledge Development in year 1, and year 2 focuses on bulding Evidence Samples.

Course Duration

Recommended Guided Learning Hours (GLH) are

  • L-UNIT - Receptive Skills
  • GLH 75, Self Directed Study 65 =140;
  • S-UNIT - Productive Skills
  • GLH 75, Self Directed Study 65 = 140;
  • TOTAL no. of hours 280.

See Course Schedules and Fees for detailed information on timetabling. 

Level 3 Course ISL Video Information in ISL


To be awarded the Level 3 NVQ in Irish Sign Language the candidate must achieve both the receptive (L311) unit and the productive (S312) unit.  A portfolio of evidence is required to gain the award.  The candidate must demonstrate communication ability across a range of use from social relating to work, formal contexts, from standard broadcast items, using webcam/video recorded messages and completing self evaluation tasks must be submitted to gain the award.

The compilation of evidence is done mostly in ISL with some written elements.

Candidates who may have literacy or English as a second language challenges will be offered support with written English.

In addition to structured practical language classes, we provide learners with opportunities to study the language in laboratory analysis on computer, role-play in class sessions, debates and discussions.  Log-on learning facilities contain video clips for practice, assignments for self-study, course notes, reading lists, and electronic handouts.  The cultural heritage, key figures in deaf history, storytelling and poetry in sign languages, international deaf organisations, current affairs in the global Deaf community and issues key to Deaf Human Rights such as rights in education, language, and service provision form part of our deaf awareness training programmes.


It can be difficult for people to meet deaf people if they are new to the Deaf Community.

We supply deaf language models to assist you with compiling in evidence samples.  The language models participate in role plays, debates, group discussions, and form audiences for presentations.

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Progression route

-Level 1 ISL - 9 credits

-Level 2 ISL - 15 credits

-Level 3 ISL NVQ - 28 credits

-Level 6 ISL NVQ - 36 credits - degree - level

-Level 6 Interpreter Training - degree level

-Level 6 Translation - degree level - suitable for deaf and hearing interpreter-translators