I left school early and have no qualifications

I'd like to go back to education but I didn't finish school. What supports are there for me?

If you have left school without any qualifications you can get help to return to education, do an apprenticeship or get work experience. A Youth Guarantee is being introduced that will support all young jobseekers and give them access to training, education, work experience or full-time employment.

You can read our document Information for young jobseekers to find out what supports are available. You can also read the section on Education and training to find out about all the courses that may be of interest to you.

What is the Youthreach progamme?

If you have left school without any formal qualifications, the Youthreach programme can give you opportunities for basic education, personal development, vocational training and work experience. You can concentrate on a core training area of your choice but basic subjects, such as English, maths and life skills, are generally covered by all trainees.

The course is generally full time and lasts from 1 to 2 years, although it can be flexible, depending on your individual needs. If you complete the basic training successfully, you will be awarded a Foundation Certification from Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) or the Junior Certificate. Having completed a Foundation Programme, you may continue to a Progression Programme. This will give you the opportunity to progress to the Leaving Certificate Applied course or a higher-level QQI award. You can choose to continue to other skills training, such as an apprenticeship course.

What is the Vocational Training and Opportunities Scheme (VTOS)?

If you are over 21 years of age, unemployed and have been getting certain social welfare payments for at least 6 months you can apply for the Vocational Training and Opportunities Scheme (VTOS). The VTOS scheme provides a range of courses to meet the education and training needs of unemployed people. It gives participants opportunities to improve their general level of education, gain certification, develop their skills and prepare for employment, self-employment and further education and training. VTOS is aimed in particular at unemployed people who are early school-leavers.

Page updated: 24 July 2014