Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS)
What is VTOS / Explanation
The scheme is open to people who are:
Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) consists of a range of full-time (5 days a week, Mon-Fri) courses designed to meet the educational and training needs of unemployed people allowing them to gain nationally recognised qualifications and further their career and employment prospects. VTOS courses are usually 2 years in duration.
Courses range from Level 4-6 on the National Framework of Qualifications and are available in a wide range of subjects; Business Administration, Information Communication and Technology (ICT), Accounting Technician, Tourism and Business, Food Science, Heritage, Culture etc.
VTOS’s academic year starts in September but as VTOS operates a continuous enrolment policy, therefore if place is available persons can enrol throughout the academic year.
VTOS courses are available to persons currently unemployed and aged 21 or over.
Applicants should be:
- 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 ETB training courses, Community Employment schemes, Job Initiative and Youthreach 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 satisfy the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection that they have not been engaged in work for at least six months and are in receipt of one of the following payments:
- Statutory Redundancy (can attend without waiting the 6 months)
- Blind Persons Pension
- Deserted Wives Allowance
- Deserted Wives Benefit
- Widow / Widower / Surviving Civil Partner’s Non-Contributory Pension
- Widow / Widowers / Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension
- Prisoner Wives Allowance
*People receiving disability benefit should first contact their Social Welfare Officer about exemption/entitlement to the continuation of their disability benefit payment.
There are limited spaces on a VTOS Dispersed mode, this allows VTOS eligible participants to attend other full-time FET courses (e.g. PLC) instead of the VTOS courses and benefit from the allowances and supports available to VTOS participants.
Cost of VTOS Courses
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 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 (evenings and weekends) without loss of benefits.
How can I apply?
All VTOS courses are advertised on www.fetchcourses.ie, You can apply directly through this website, alternatively you can contact your local VTOS centre for further information and application forms (list below) or you can contact your local MSLETB Adult Guidance Service (Castlebar, Sligo, Carrick-on-Shannon or Claremorris).