Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) for unemployed people

This scheme provides training courses to unemployed people

Written by spunout

Last Updated: May-08-24


The Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) provides training and education courses to unemployed people.

What is the VTOS scheme?

The Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) provides a wide range of free training and education courses to people who left school early. The scheme is run through local Education and Training Boards.

What are the benefits of a VTOS course?

There are many benefits to taking part in this scheme when you are unemployed. These benefits can include:

  • Improve your level of education
  • Develop your skills
  • Prepare for employment of self-employment
  • Prepare for further education or training
  • Gain a certificate

What is involved in a VTOS course?

These courses range from basic education training to advanced vocational training. Courses are usually full time (30 hours a week), and can last up to two years.

What certification can I get with a VTOS course?

At the end of a course, you may receive a qualification such as the Junior Certificate, Leaving Certificate, and awards Level 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Am I eligible for VTOS?

You must be be aged 21 or over to participate in VTOS.

You must also be getting one of the following social welfare payment for at least 6 months:

If you do not receive any of the above social welfare payments, you may still qualify if you are one of the following:

  • A dependent spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of an eligible person
  • A person who received statutory redundancy

Periods spent on FET training courses, Community Employment Schemes, Job Initiative, Youthreach programmes and time in prison can count towards the qualifying period.

If you are claiming Illness Benefit, you should contact your local social welfare office if you are interested in doing a course through VTOS.

Getting other payments during VTOS

It is possible to receive other payments while doing a course through VTOS.

Can I receive a social welfare payment while on VTOS?

If you are receiving a social welfare payment, generally, you will continue to receive it at the same rate. However, participants under 25 who move from an age-related reduced rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance will get a maximum VTOS training allowance rate of €232 per week.

Are there other supports available for people on VTOS?

In addition to your social welfare payment, you will get free books and materials at the start of the course. This means you should not need to spend money on materials in order to take part in the course.

Can I receive allowances while on VTOS?

Depending on your individual circumstances you may be eligible for the following:

Can I work during VTOS?

You will not be able to work full-time when the course is in progress because your course will be full-time. If you find a job during the summer months when you are on a break from your course, you will continue to receive your VTOS payment throughout those summer months.

How to apply for VTOS

You can participate in the VTOS scheme as one of the following:

  • A core student that is attending a VTOS centre or adult education centre
  • A dispersed student, usually attending a Post-Leaving Certificate course in a further education college

To apply for VTOS, contact the provider of the course that interests you and let them know you are interested in taking up a course. You can find out more about courses on the Qualifax website.

Need more information?

We are here to answer your questions and talk through your options. Our online chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm. Chat to us now about your situation.

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