The Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC) and the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) were established in 2001 under the Qualifications (Education & Training) Act 1999. Since the establishment of HETAC and FETAC, Ireland has become a global learning hub with a highly competitive private sector participation in eduction as well as a robust public sector involvement via the four main Universities and Institutes of Technology. The third level sector also affords significant opportunities for collaboration with industry as is evidenced by the network of highly professional technology transfer offices around the country.

Venture Legal Services is familiar with the particular legal needs of the Education industry where public sector clients must manage risk to the institution at all times and private sector clients must continually strive to be innovative and fast-moving in increasingly globalised markets. The firm has direct experience of the issues involved and is happy to

The proliferation of distance learning, online learning and e-learning requires a renewed emphasis on intellectual property rights (IPRs) creation and ownership while the use of independent contractors means that, by default, universities, institutes of technology and other organisations do not own the IPRs generated by such personnel.

Employment law issues regularly emerge for all businesses in this sector as it is characterised by well-educated staff who are aware of their employment law rights. In addition, rights of tenure and the importance of academic freedom combine to make employment law issues in education more complex than elsewhere.

There is significant change underway in the sector with the National Qualifications Authority, HETAC and FETAC being merged to form the new Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland (QQAAI). Moreover funding constraints caused by current Government budgetary circumstances continue to keep the issue of third level fees at or near the top of the agenda and the 2010 National Strategy for Higher Education report (generally known as the Hunt Report) recommends some radical changes to the current higher education system.