Certificate in Sustainable Surplus Food Management (Online)

  • NFQ Level 6
  • Credits 10*
  • Course Code SG_SSUSF_S06
  • Award Special Purpose Award
  • Duration 1 Year

Course Summary

The proposed programme will answer the objectives of the community climate action programme (CCAP), addressing the needs of community volunteer organisations (CVOs) identified through independent research, by providing a multi-faceted educational programme on practical aspects of food waste minimisation and food redistribution. The case studies will provide replicable examples of organisations who have used SFD alongside other complementary sustainability practices to create the basis for sustainable food communities. The regionally focused training will facilitate peer- and action-learning based on the education programme, case studies and toolkit.  

FoodCloud Funding Available:

If you are a charity or community group involved in surplus food distribution and have volunteers or staff that would benefit from this course, you are eligible to apply for the FoodCloud Academy Grant.

If you would like more information, please email Foodcloudacademy@foodcloud.ie





Key Course Information

The aim of this programme is to provide participants with the knowledge and competencies required to support the sustainable transition of our food systems, decrease the amount of food waste generated across the supply chain and address the UN Sustainable Development Goals which are part of the strategic plan of ATU. Specifically, by addressing the management of surplus food it will lead to the reduction of food waste as described in SDG 12 (Sustainable Production and Consumption) and particularly SDG 12.3 that aims be 2030 to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses. Through the provision of skills to the stakeholders on successful food redistribution, it will address SDG 2 (Zero Hunger) and SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities) and will contribute to the development of “Sustainable Cities and Communities” (SDG 11). The aim of the course is to provide High Quality Education (SDG 4) to stakeholders across the food supply chain, community organisation, charities, volunteers contributing to the partnership for the goals (SDG 17). This course will also be in direct response to a call from organisations in the food sector for bespoke training on sustainability to address key knowledge and skills gaps. It also addresses the Food Vision 2030, set by the Irish government aiming to establish Ireland as a world leader in Food over the next decade. The online format provides participants with access to a Level 6 qualification, while in full-time employment, thus enabling them to upskill and enhance their career opportunities. The support systems for the learners in ATU will also help students who return to education after a long break. ATU Sligo has a long expertise in delivering online programmes at different levels and recognises the needs of online learners who need the flexibility of various exit routes due to work-life commitments. 

Application Closing Date : 16th August 2024

Entry Requirements

Applicants must be a minimum of 17 years old to apply for this programme and meet one or more of the following criteria: 

  • Pass mark in any QQI FET Major Award at level 5.
  • Grade O6/H7 or better in five Leaving Certificate subjects. Leaving Certificate must include English or Irish and Mathematics. Maths at F2 is acceptable to meet the minimum Maths entry requirement. Irish at F2 is acceptable to meet the minimum language requirement. Equivalent qualifications from other countries also accepted.
  • Leaving Certificate Applied with 160 credits.
  • A Pass in the ATU Access programme, the QQI FET Foundation Certificate, the NUIG/ATU Foundation Certificate or any Foundation/Access Certificate.
  • Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) may be used to gain access to the programme and/or gain exemptions.


Mature student applicants (aged 23 on or before 1st January of the course commencement year) do not have to meet the minimum entry requirements listed above and are considered on an individual basis (previous education, work experience, and demonstration of ability and competence to undertake the programme).


In addition, students for whom English is not their first language must meet the following English language requirements: A minimum score of 5.5 (with a minimum score of 5.0 in each component) in the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or equivalent. All results must have been achieved within 2 years of application.


Career Opportunities

Career Progression 

Graduates will be skilled to work with organisations involved in food aid, donations and surplus food distribution, non-governmental organisations, vocational training institutes e.g., trainer of trainers. Those working with CVOs will upskill and have opportunities to progress within the organisations.  

Further Study

Depending on prior qualifications, students may also be eligible to undertake one of several Level 9 Cert/ MSc. in a related food and/or environmental science discipline.   

Upon successful completion of the Certificate (L6) in Sustainable Food Surplus Practices, students may progress into one of several Level 7 & 8 food and/or environmental science related course(s) offered by ATU. 

Did you know?

Reducing food waste is a priority action at national and international levels in addressing climate change, as reflected in Irish policy documents:  

  • Climate Action Plan includes food waste as a priority waste stream and articulates a 50% reduction, reflecting the EU Circular Economy Package and the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3.  

  • Whole of Government Circular Economy Strategy is Ireland’s first national circular economy strategy and commits, through the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy (WAPCE), to developing a Food Waste Prevention Roadmap that lists a series of actions aimed at delivering the reductions necessary to halve food waste by 2030, to include increased support for surplus food redistribution.  

  • Food Vision 2030 commits Ireland to becoming a world leader in Sustainable Food Systems (SFS) over the next decade. It calls out surplus food redistribution as “an important element so that the food waste hierarchy is followed, and this can also play an important role in dealing with shocks in supply chains due to unforeseen events (e.g. Covid) while additionally offering positive social impacts.”  

  • Project Ireland 2040 seeks to promote rural and balanced national development incorporating social inclusion and urgent action to mitigate the impact of climate change. 

Programme Fees

Academic Year 2024/25 Fees

Total Programme Fees: €500

To help make the payment of fees more manageable for students who are self-funding their studies, tuition fees can be paid through payment instalment plans at ATU Sligo. For further information on instalment plans, please visit our Fees and Funding webpage

If you apply and are approved for an online course at ATU Sligo, you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit of €250 to secure your place. Your deposit will then be credited against the course fees once you are registered as a student. Students at ATU Sligo are also eligible to claim tax relief at the standard rate for tuition fees.

For further information and guidance about Fees and Funding for online and part-time courses at ATU Sligo, click here.

If you are seeking to take your exams online, and you meet the eligibility criteria (overseas students and those with extenuating circumstances), an additional examinations fee will apply. For further information, please visit our Examinations webpage

Course Format

Semester 1

Introduction to Surplus Food05

Semester 2

Sustainable Surplus Food Management05