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Options for early school leavers

Did you leave education before you turned 16?


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in employment


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The legal definition of an early school leaver is someone who leaves education before they turn 16 or have completed three years of secondary school education.

For those who have left school but would still like to further their education or training there are a number of schemes in place.

The School Completion programme

The school completion programme aims to increase the number of young people staying in primary and secondary schools. Each project has a programme of in-school, after school and holiday time interventions to target young people who are at risk of early school leaving.

Back to Education Initiative

The Back to Education Initiative provides an opportunity for adult learners and early school leavers to re-enter education. It includes;

Youthreach programme

Youthreach helps young people aged 15-20 years return to learning and prepare for employment in adult life. It allows young people the chance to get certified qualifications such as Junior Cert, Leaving Cert and FETAC courses. 

Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS)

The Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) is a range of courses designed to meet the needs of unemployed people. The course is aimed at people over the age of 21 who have been getting unemployment payments for at least 6 months. It is delivered through the Education and Training Boards (ETBs). 

Where to apply

To apply for an early school leavers scheme you can contact Youthreach if you are aged between 15-20 years old. Contact your local Education and Training Board (ETB) for details of adult education programmes and Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS).

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Published July 19th, 2016
Last updated November 28th, 2016
Tags early school leaver unemployed unemployment training education
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