How can the National Learning Network help me get into employment?

NLN offers free and flexible learning courses for people who face challenges in finding employment

Written by spunout


The National Learning Network (NLN) provides flexible training courses and specialist support to those who may find it difficult to secure employment. NLN offers a wide selection of courses on a variety of topics all around the country.

What is the National Learning Network (NLN)?

The National Learning Network (NLN) is an initiative that offers courses for anyone who is facing challenges in finding a job and is interested in learning new skills

Who are NLN courses for?

To enrol in an NLN course, you must be aged between 16 and 66. Otherwise, there are no formal entry requirements to access NLN courses. Some courses do have an assessment period to ensure that the course is suitable for you. 

NLN courses are aimed at people who, for a variety of reasons, may find it difficult to gain employment. This includes anyone who:

  • Left school early
  • Has been out of work because of an accident, physical or mental illness
  • Lives with a disability
  • Has been unemployed for a long period of time

If you enrol in a course with NLN, you will have access to a range of study, wellness, social, and organisational support sessions to support you through your studies.

What courses can I do through NLN?

NLN courses cover a wide variety of subjects including:

  • Arts, Craft and Media
  • Catering
  • Tourism
  • Hospitality and Leisure
  • Business Studies and Administration
  • Computer and IT
  • Horticulture and Environment
  • Career Exploration and Employment

You can find out more about the courses available here.

In all of its courses, National Learning Network offers nationally recognised qualifications including QQI, European Computer Driving Licence and City & Guilds. The type and level of the qualification you get depends on the course you complete.

How long are NLN courses?

NLN courses vary in length from six months to three years and you may get an extension if you need it. Most courses run for 30 hours per week, although some people attend part-time particularly at the start. 

How much are NLN courses?

All NLN courses are free of charge. If you are currently receiving social welfare supports, you will be able to keep them while completing an NLN course. You may also receive a training allowance from SOLAS or the HSE.

Where are NLN courses located?

You can access NLN courses in a variety of ways, including in your local NLN centre, with a local employer or from home via online learning. 

How can I apply for NLN courses?

There is a wide variety of NLN courses available across Ireland. You can find out more about the courses available here. To apply for a course that interests you, contact the individual centre directly. Most of the courses are open entry, meaning that you can apply and start them at any time of the year.

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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