Further Education and Training (FET) allowances

Information

Further Education and Training (FET) training courses provided in Education and Training Boards (ETB) training centres are free (except for evening courses) and you may be paid a training allowance for the duration of your course. You can also claim an accommodation allowance if you need to live away from home for the duration of the course or a travel allowance if you live 3 miles or more from the course centre. You may qualify for a free childcare place for your child. FET allowances are not taxable.

To get a FET training allowance you must be entitled to a qualifying social welfare payment, such as Jobseeker's Allowance or Jobseeker's Benefit. However, if you are aged under 18 and attending a Community Training Centre you will get an age-related training allowance – see ‘Rates’ below.

FÁS, SOLAS and ETBs

FÁS was dissolved and some of its functions were transferred to SOLAS - the new further education and training authority.

In 2014, the FÁS training division was transferred to the 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs) which replaced VECs.

Social welfare payments and the FET training allowance

Your payment when on a FET training course will depend on the social welfare payment you are getting.There is no qualifying period, which means you do not need to have been getting a social welfare payment for a certain period of time.

Qualified adult dependant: If you are getting an Increase for a Qualified Adult for your spouse, civil partner or cohabitant as part of your social welfare payment, you can continue to get this while your adult dependant is participating on a FET course. Your adult dependant will not get a FET training allowance. However, they may qualify for travel and other allowances. Check with the course provider if these allowances are available with their course.

Jobseeker's Allowance or Supplementary Welfare Allowance

Since 1 January 2014, if you are a new participant aged 26 or over and getting Jobseeker's Allowance (JA) or Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA) you will have your payment suspended, but you will get a FET training allowance of the same amount.

If you are getting a reduced age-related Jobseeker's Allowance you will have your payment suspended, but you will get a FET training allowance of €160. Any means that were deducted from your JA will also be deducted from your FET training allowance. This also applies to people getting a reduced age-related basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

If your entitlement to Jobseeker's Allowance or Supplementary Welfare Allowance stops during the FET course, your FET training allowance will stop.

Jobseeker's Benefit

If you are getting Jobseeker's Benefit your social welfare payment will stop and you will get a FET training allowance of the same amount. If you do not find employment when your course ends, you can reapply for Jobseeker’s Benefit. Your Jobseeker’s Benefit claim may be linked to your previous claim for Jobseeker’s Benefit - this means that your claim is not treated as a new claim.

Disability Allowance or Blind Pension

Your Disability Allowance or Blind Pension is suspended but you will get a FET training allowance of the same amount. The rules that apply to your original social welfare payment also apply to your FET training allowance. You must inform social welfare of any changes to your circumstances.

You will also keep any secondary benefits, such as your medical card or travel pass.

If you have a disability, the Education and Training Board will apply flexible sick leave arrangements if necessary.

Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension

You will keep your Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension (but you must get an exemption from the Department of Social Protection authorising you to do the FET course). The rules that apply to your social welfare payment will continue to apply while you are on the FET course. You will keep your secondary benefits.

One-Parent Family Payment

You will keep your One-Parent Family Payment.

Rates

Weekly training allowances are as follows:

FET training allowance Rate per week (full-time)
Jobseeker's Allowance or SWA (aged 26 and over) same rate as your social welfare payment
Jobseeker's Allowance or SWA (under 26) €160*
Jobseeker's Benefit same rate as your social welfare payment
One-Parent Family Payment or Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension

or Farm Assist or Fish Assist

keep your existing social welfare payment
Disability Allowance same rate as your social welfare payment
No social welfare payment (aged 16-17) €40

*If your social welfare payment is more than this amount, you will get the same rate as your social welfare payment.

Since January 2014, new participants who move from an age-related reduced rate of Jobseeker’s Allowance will get a top-up rate of €160 per week.

Since 1 January 2014, people getting one of the social welfare payments listed below will not get a FET training allowance. However, they will continue to get their social welfare payment.

  • Invalidity Pension
  • Illness Benefit
  • One-Parent Family Payment
  • Farm Assist
  • Fish Assist

Christmas Bonus

A Christmas Bonus will be paid to all trainees who have been unemployed for more than 15 months (you must have been getting your jobseeker’s payment and/or your training allowance for 15 months). You will also get a Christmas Bonus if you were getting a long-term social welfare payment and are now getting a training allowance.

How to apply

In order to apply for a place on a FET course, you should register with your local employment services office or Intreo centre. You will be interviewed in order to identify the course that will best suit your needs. Due to the pressure on some courses, you may not get a place immediately on the course of your choice. For more information about available training courses contact your ETB Training Centre.

Page edited: 15 March 2017