Building Lifelong Learning Participation with the Higher Education 4.0 Project at the Atlantic Technological University in Ireland: Recognizing Prior Learning (RPL) and Providing Career and Learning Pathways with

Carina Ginty, Gavin Clinch, Bridie Kiloran


Higher Education 4.0 (HE 4.0) is an ambitious, innovative, and collaborative project from the Atlantic Technological University (ATU), Ireland. A €12.3 million project supported by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) in Ireland under the HCI, Human Capital Initiative.  It is a vision for future agility in higher education and provides for opportunities into and through higher education. 

The Careers and RPL Learning Pathways platform under HE 4.0 incorporates a regional service from the ATU for the assessment of Recognized Prior Learning (RPL) and the development of personalized career and learning pathways. This new university service is delivered through an online platform at and an RPL information site for the ATU at    

The online platform involves engagement with employers and potential students to the Atlantic Technological University. The service involves advising candidates on the learning pathways available and appropriate to them, and how to achieve their career objectives or improve their employability. 

This paper will explore the ATU Career and RPL learning pathways project development journey to date and how the findings emerging from the research and evaluation activities are informing the establishment of a regional careers and RPL service, supporting lifelong learning participation and upskilling in the workforce. In addition, the process is informing enhancements to the university’s RPL assessment process, policy development, and access to higher education initiatives. To conclude, an industry pilot case exemplar will be discussed, particularly their engagement with assessment services, an RPL assessment portfolio, and a variety of micro-courses supporting the transition to higher education. 

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