Find your local VTOS Centre here

What is VTOS?

Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) consists of a range of courses designed to meet the educational and training needs of unemployed people allowing them to gain nationally recognised qualifications and avail of further career and employment support

How can people join the scheme?



The scheme is open to people who are:
Aged 21 or over
In receipt of job seekers allowance or job seekers benefit or signing for credits for at least 6 months or In receipt of 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 (Periods spent on FAS training courses, Community Employment schemes, Job Initiative and Youthreach/Senior Traveller Training Centre programmes or time in prison, can count towards this six month qualifying period but a person must be getting one of the relevant social welfare payments immediately before the course commencement date)


The following categories are also eligible to apply for VTOS provided they are at least 21 years of age and can satisfy the Department of Social & Family Affairs that they have not been engaged in work for at least six months and are in receipt of one of the following payments. (Please note that those in receipt of a statutory redundancy payment are entitled to join VTOS without the six month waiting period).


Statutory redundancy (can attend without waiting the 6 months)
Blind persons pension
Deserted wives allowance
Deserted wives benefit
Widow/widower non-contributory pension
Widowers contributory pension
Prisoners wives allowance
People receiving disability benefit should first contact their Social Welfare Officer about exemption/entitlement to the continuation of their disability benefit payment)



What will VTOS cost me?
Courses are provided free of charge
If you are currently getting job seekers allowance or job seekers benefit, you will instead get a training allowance at at the same rate as you DEASP payment.


If you are getting a one-parent family payment or eligible disability payment, you will get paid your current social welfare payment directly
You will receive a small lunch allowance and may be entitled to a travel allowance depending on the distance between your home and VTOS centre
You will be given books and materials free of charge
You may qualify for a subsidised childcare place for your child(ren) through the Childcare Employment and Training Support (CETS) scheme


Participants retain their entitlement to any secondary benefits e.g. fuel allowance and rent allowance. You can also work part-time during your time off at evenings and weekends without loss of benefit.

What does VTOS involve?

The course is full time and runs over five days – (Monday to Friday). Courses can last up to two years.

Courses include a wide range of subjects including: Art, Craft and Design, ECDL and Computer Skills, Heritage Studies, Languages, Accountancy, Media Studies, Sport & Recreation, and Basic Education – literacy and numeracy.
Certification is available through the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI): at levels 1, 2, 3, 4 , 5 and 6.

When does VTOS start?

VTOS programmes normally start in September and conclude in June of the following year and attendance is usually over a two year period.


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 employment

Frequently asked questions about VTOS



The eligibility criteria are the same as VTOS.  In addition applicants must have applied for or secured a place on a PLC course or on a leaving certificate programme prior to applying for the Dispersed Mode.

Scheme Details
The scheme is for one year with an option of a second year if required.
Participants are expected to attend a full-time course.
There is an allowance of €50 towards books and materials.
Meals and travels allowances are provided.
Childcare support maybe available.
Participants are allowed to work while on VTOS, providing it does not interfere with their course.

 Find your local VTOS Centre here