Many people including early school leavers, unemployed people and those who want to retrain for a new job may be interested in returning to education on a full-time or part-time basis. If you are interested in returning to education, there are a number of organisations and resources where you can get information about the courses available to you.
Education and Training Boards (ETBs) are the main providers of adult education, through local schools and colleges. (Vocational Educational Committees (VECs) were replaced by Education and Training Boards (ETBs) on 1 July 2013.) Community education groups offer a variety of courses, catering for learners at all levels. Third-level colleges provide a wide range of courses too.
On 1 January 2014, the FÁS training division (including FÁS courses) began its transfer to the 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs) which replaced VECs. All training courses will have transferred to ETBs on 1 July 2014. If you are currently on a training course, you will not be affected by these changes.
AONTAS (the Irish National Association of Adult Education) promotes adult education and lifelong learning. AONTAS operates an information and referral service which aims to make the adult learner's first encounter with education as easy as possible.
National Adult Literacy Agency
The National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) is a voluntary organisation that aims to ensure all adults with literacy difficulties have access to high quality learning opportunities. NALA can help you to improve your reading, writing or maths. You can learn with NALA in a group, one-to-one, online or over the phone.
Qualifax is the Irish national database of all third-level and further education courses. It provides the information you need to make informed choices about your education, training and career path. It also provides a list of Adult Guidance Services.
One Step Up
One Step Up aims to help all adults to enhance their learning by promoting access to learning opportunities. It provides a freephone helpline, answers to frequently asked questions and a calendar of learning events.
Guide for mature students
You can find detailed information about college requirements and supports for mature students in the Mature Student Directory of Irish Third-Level Institutions (pdf).
National Centre for Guidance in Education
The National Centre for Guidance
in Education (NCGE) is an agency of the Department of Education and Skills.
Its main role is to support people providing guidance in all areas of education
such as schools, colleges and adult education. It is responsible for the Adult
Educational Guidance Initiative it provides personal, educational and
career guidance to participants in VTOS, adult and community education
programmes. In general, NCGE is not a guidance service for individuals but it
does provide advice and information to people who wish to study or train in
another EU country.
For more details about adult education you should contact your local Education and Training Board.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.