The Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) is a second chance education and training programme which provides courses of up to two years duration for unemployed people. The scheme has proved to be a great success in opening up learning and progression opportunities for people who have been marginalised by unemployment. Trainees on VTOS can pursue subjects in the Junior or Leaving Certificate programmes or modules or awards certified by Quality & Qualifications Ireland (QQI) at Foundation Level, Level 1, Level 2 or 3. Participants may also acquire a portfolio of qualifications in line with their needs and interests.
Please note: Places are LIMITED on the VTOS programme and are prioritised on the basis of:
- Educational need.
- Period of time in receipt of Social Welfare payments.
What are the aims of the scheme?
The aims of the scheme are:
- To give unemployed people education and training opportunities which will develop their employability.
- To prepare people to go to paid employment or to further opportunities leading to paid employment.
Can I join the scheme?
You can apply to join if you are:
- Aged 21 or over and…
- In receipt of Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit or signing for credits for at least six months.
- In receipt of a one-parent family payment, disability allowance, disability benefit* or invalidity pension for at least six months.
- Are a dependent spouse of an eligible person for at least six months.
- In receipt of a blind person’s pension, deserted wife’s allowance / benefit, widow/widowers contributory/non-contributory pension or prisoner’s wife’s allowance for at least six months. Conditions may apply in the case of a blind person’s pension, deserted wife’s allowance / benefit, widow/widowers contributory/non-contributory pension or prisoner’s wife’s allowance. Periods spent on FÁS training courses, Community Employment Schemes, Job Initiative, Youthreach programmes and time in prison can count towards the qualifying period.
The following may also be eligible for VTOS:
- Carer’s Allowance.
- Farm Assist.
- Statutory redundancy.
*People on Disability Benefit should, in the first instance, contact their local Social Welfare Office about exemption/entitlement to continuation of their Disability Benefit payment.
What will it cost me?
Courses are provided free of charge:
If you are currently getting an employment payment, you will instead get a training allowance equivalent to the maximum standard rate of Unemployment Benefit. If you are getting One-Parent Family Payment or Disability Allowances you will get a payment equivalent to the maximum rate of your current social welfare payment. You will continue to receive payment in a normal way from the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs.
- You will get travel (for distances over 3 miles) and meal allowances.
- You will be given books and materials free of charge.
- Childcare support is also available.
What does the programme involve?
- 30 hours course attendance per week, (e.g. 6 hours a day for 5 days). Courses last up to two years.
- Courses include a wide range of levels, including Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate, and the Foundation, Level 1 and Level 2 QQI.
What opportunities will VTOS offer me?
- A chance to continue your education and training.
- A chance to develop new skills.
- A chance to gain certification at a range of levels.
- A chance to find good employment.
Coláiste Stiofáin Naofa
St. John’s Central College
Cork College of Commerce
Terence MacSwiney Community College
Nagle Community College
The Sutherland Centre
If you fail to get a place on the VTOS programme, you may apply for Back-to-Education-Allowance (BTEA) please note applications for BTEA must be made directly through your Social Welfare Office www.welfare.ie
VTOS is funded by the Irish Government and part-financed by the European Union under the National Development Plan, 2007-2013.