Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS)


This is a second chance education and training programme which offers unemployed adults the opportunity to return to full time education without losing their social welfare payments. Subjects include English and Maths as well as a range of vocational subjects. You may also be able to gain certification in subjects at the Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate levels and/or from QQI, City and Guilds or other awarding bodies.

VTOS Students are also eligible to participate in Further Education/ PLC courses, subject to certain criteria.

Benefits of VTOS:-

  • Retain the same level of Social Welfare payment you are currently receiving
  • Receive a bonus payment if you are in receipt of a Social Welfare payment for one year before enrolling in VTOS
  • Lunch Allowance
  • Travel Allowance (depending on distance from home to college / centre)
  • Free books and materials
  • Childcare support
  • Learning new skills
  • Increasing your confidence
  • Enhancing your future career opportunities

Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for VTOS, a person must be at least 21 years of age, available for a full-time course and:

  • be in receipt of Job Seekers’ Benefit or Job Seekers’ Allowance, One Parent Family Payment, Invalidity Pension, Blind Person’s Pension, Deserted Wife’s Benefit/Allowance, Widow’s/Widower’s Contributory or Non-Contributory Pension, Prisoner’s Wife’s Allowance or Farm Assist for at least six months or
  • be in receipt of Disability Allowance or Illness Benefit for at least six months (conditions may apply in the case of these allowances and benefits) or
  • be signing for credits for at least six months or
  • be a dependent spouse of an eligible person for at least six months or
  • be in receipt of statutory redundancy.  The six months (156 days) qualifying period does not apply to those in receipt of statutory redundancy.  However, in certain cases the person may not be entitled to an immediate social welfare payment due to a possible disallowance where a large statutory redundancy payment had been made to him/her.  This ‘disallowed’ period could last for up to 9 weeks.  In such cases the person will be allowed to enrol on a VTOS course but will not begin to get a VTOS training allowance until the ‘disallowed’ period has ended.

Contact Us…

If you would like more information please contact the VTOS co-ordinator in your area (see the list on the right of this page)