The Global Language of Business

My Experience of Level 1 Barcode Training with GS1 Ireland

Jan 8, 2024, by Paul Connolly - Category: training

Level 1

As a new Marketing Content & Communications Manager with GS1 Ireland, I was unfamiliar with GS1 and barcoding when I started my new role in March of 2023. This gave me a direct insight into the learning curve also experienced by each of our new members when they first join GS1 Ireland and want to barcode their products for the first time.

As part of my onboarding training with GS1 Ireland I completed a Level 1 Barcode training course, together with several other GS1 Ireland members from a variety of industries. The course proved to be a great starting point for anyone looking to learn the basics of barcoding and afforded me the valuable opportunity to hear from our members directly on some of the challenges they face in their industries.

GS1 and Identifiers

First thing we were introduced to who GS1 are, their history and what exactly their role is today. We learned that GS1 standards are the global language of business, used to identify, capture and share data and information, which can then be used by anyone no matter where they are or what systems they are using.

ICS Horizontal Label JPG

GS1 Company Prefixes are a unique string of digits that are licensed to a GS1 member by GS1 Ireland. These GCP’s enable the member to issue GS1 identifiers such as barcode numbers, also known as a Global Trade Item Number or GTIN.

We learned how a number of different GS1 identifiers are used to identify a wide range of different things (not just products!), such as physical locations, assets, shipments or documents. The rest of the level 1 course focused mostly on the GTIN and identifying products, while the other GS1 identifiers are explored further in level 2.

We then heard all about GTINs; what the numbers in a GTIN mean, how we can create one ourselves and the rules for assigning a GTIN. We were then introduced to Barcode Manager, GS1 Ireland’s online tool designed to help businesses allocate GTINs and generate barcodes.

After the Break

After a short break we started the next session with a Barcode Manager demonstration which included a full walkthrough on how to generate your first barcode. This was particularly useful for myself as I was able to see the steps involved in generating a new barcode from start to finish from the perspective of a new business.


Next we looked at another GS1 identifier, Global Location Numbers or GLNs. We learned how they can be used to uniquely identify locations or parties for trading purposes. Like the GTIN we learned GLN’s rules and structures and how we can generate one ourselves.

Verified by GS1 is GS1’s online registry of basic product data and attributes that helps brand owners to confirm their product and company identity to their trading partners. The registry helps prevent product data being incorrect, duplicated or counterfeited.

We then learned about barcode symbols – the black and white lines we all recognise! These symbols are essentially a representation of the GTIN printed below it that can be read by a barcode scanner. There are a couple of different types of symbols that are used and important rules that need to be followed to allow them to be read by a scanner.

Barcode symbol orange box

Finally, we were introduced to Digital Link and GS1 powered QR codes – the future of barcoding! Unlike a traditional QR codes that typically brings you to one specific website when scanned, GS1 powered QR codes allow the products GTIN to be stored inside with links to more information about the product. So the QR code can be scanned at a point of sale or by a customer looking for recipe ideas or allergen information.

Getting a run down on the future of barcoding was particularly interesting for me and was one of my favourite takeaways from the training.


Final Thoughts

From my admittedly biased perspective, the training proved to be very useful in getting my head around the basics of barcoding and kickstarted my new role in the right way. Barcoding is a topic that may seem simple from the outside but could prove to be quite intricate and complex without the right support.

My colleague Alec who runs the training sessions is an expert in his field and more than happy to answer any question you can throw at him and offers his guidance and support throughout the session.

While everyone learned a lot from the training, both practically and technically, one of the hidden benefits was that my co-trainees on the course were able to discuss with each other the processes that are in place in their own companies, to compare and contrast practices and learn about opportunities for improvement. 

About the GS1 Barcode Training Course

Barcode Training is a 2 part programme offered by GS1 Ireland and delivered by Alec Tubridy from the GS1 Ireland Industry Engagement Team. The course is aimed at anyone who needs to know how to manage barcode numbers, such as those working in the areas of packaging, marketing, supply chain, procurement, inventory management and more.

Training Dates

If you are interested in barcode training, a list of dates for the coming months is available on our website here. If you would like to register for any of these dates simply click the ‘Book Now’ button on the appropriate page. If you have a question about training, you can email

Tags: blog, training, barcoding