Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme

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 the Further Education and Training Awards Council at Foundation Level, Level 1, Level 2 or 3. Participants may also acquire a portfolio of qualifications in line with their needs and interests.

Q. What is the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme?

VTOS consists of a range of courses designed to meet the education and training needs of unemployed people.

Q. What are the aims of the scheme?

  • To give unemployed people education and training opportunities.
  • To prepare people to go to paid employment or to further opportunities leading to paid employment.

Q. Can I join the scheme?

Yes, if you are:

  • aged 21 or over
  • in receipt of Unemployment Assistance or Unemployment Benefit or signing for credits for at least six months or
  • in receipt of a One-Parent Family Payment, Disability Allowance, Disability Benefit* or Invalidity Pension, for at least six months or are a dependent spouse for at least six months.
  • in receipt of a Blind Person’s Pension, Deserted Wife’s Allowance/Benefit, Widow/Widower’s Contributory/Non-Contributory pension or Prisoner’s Wife’s Allowance for at least six months. Conditions may apply.

Periods spent on FÁS Training Courses, Community Employment Schemes, Job Initiative, Youthreach Programmes or time in prison can count towards the six month qualifying period

* Disability Benefit: Attendance on course may be subject to conditions.

Q. What will VTOS cost me?

Courses are provided free of charge.

If you are currently getting Unemployment Assistance or Unemployment Benefit, you will instead get a training allowance at a rate equivalent to the maximum rate of unemployment benefit.

If you are getting a One-Parent Family Payment or eligible Disability Payment, you will get a payment equivalent to the maximum rate of your current social welfare payment.

You will continue to receive it and all other payments from the Department of Social & Family Affairs.

You will receive a small lunch allowance and may be entitled to a travel allowance depending on the distance between your home and the VTOS centre.

You will be given books and materials free of charge.

Limited childcare support is also available.

A bonus payment of €31.80 is payable if you have been in receipt of certain eligible social welfare payments for at least one year directly before you join VTOS. Conditions may apply.

Q. What does VTOS involve?

30 hours course attendance per week (e.g., 6 hours a day for 5 days).

Courses can last up to two years.

Courses include a wide range of subjects and activities.

Certification is available at a range of levels, including Junior Certificate, Leaving Certificate and the Foundation, Level 1, 2 and 3 Certificates of the Further Education & Training Awards Council (FETAC).

Q. Can I attend part-time?

A limited number of part-time options are available under the Back to Education Initiative. Tuition will be free if you satisfy the conditions listed above.

A training allowance will not be paid. You should contact the Department of Social & Family Affairs regarding continuation of your welfare entitlement.

Q. What will I get at the end of VTOS?

  • 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.

Last Updated: Thursday, 06-Oct-2011 20:56:09 IST