If you are unemployed or redundant or if you wish to update your skills or change your career, there is a wide range of SOLAS courses available to assist you.
You are eligible to take part on a SOLAS course if you are unemployed, redundant or no longer in full-time education. You may also be eligible if you are getting a disability-related social welfare payment or a One-Parent Family Payment.
FÁS and SOLAS
A new further education and training authority SOLAS was set-up on 26 October 2013. FÁS is dissolved and some of its functions have been transferred to SOLAS. From 1 January 2014, the FÁS training division will be transferred on a phased basis to the 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs) which replaced VECs. If you are currently on a FÁS course, you will not be affected by these changes.
There are many courses available under 3 different types of training.
The Traineeship Programme provides training and relevant work experience. If you are unemployed and looking for an opportunity to gain training, experience and a formal qualification in a particular area of work, the Traineeship Programme may suit your needs. Traineeships are full-time. The duration of the programme will depend on the area in which you choose to train. When your initial training is completed, you move back and forth between the centre and the employer's workplace, further developing your skills and gaining practical experience. When you complete your course you will receive a Qualification and Quality Ireland (QQI) award at either Certificate or Advanced Certificate level.
The range of traineeships available is likely to change so you need to keep in touch with your local employment services office for up-to-date information.
Specific Skills Training allows people who have lost their job or who are changing job to learn new job-related skills. There are short courses, online courses, blended learning and evening courses.The courses on offer vary from centre to centre and from year to year with different levels of certification. The courses are run during the day and in the evenings. Priority on daytime courses is given to unemployed people. A day course is free to all unemployed people, even if you are not getting a social welfare payment. An evening course is not free unless you are getting a social welfare payment.
Apprenticeships provide on-the-job training with an employer. Apprenticeships alternate between off-the-job training in an education centre and on-the-job training at your employer's workplace. An apprenticeship generally lasts for 4 years, during which time you will spend 3 different periods in off-the-job training. This training will take place in a SOLAS Training Centre or in an educational college.
The skills you develop will be assessed through on-the-job competence testing as well as off-the-job modular assessment and examinations and, if you complete these assessments successfully, you will be awarded a QQI Advanced Certificate.
To be eligible for an apprenticeship, you must be at least 16 years of age and you are expected to have a minimum of grade D in 5 subjects in the Junior Certificate or equivalent exam. However, if you don't have these qualifications, you can still register as an apprentice with an employer if you:
You will be asked to pass a colour-vision test approved by for some apprenticeships.
If you are made redundant because your employer does not have enough work for you as an apprentice you should contact your local SOLAS Services to Business office as listed in the information for redundant apprentices on the SOLAS website. SOLAS can place certain redundant apprentices with eligible employers and assist the employers with the employment costs of these apprentices. The scheme applies to apprentices in certain trades. There are also places in the Institutes of Technology for redundant apprentices and craftspersons.
A training allowance may be paid if you take part in the Traineeship Programme or Specific Skills Training.
Apart from evening courses SOLAS training courses are free and you may bepaid 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 5 km or more from the course centre. You may also qualify for free childcare.
You can read more details in our document on SOLAS training allowances.
While you are training on the job, your employer will pay you a recommended apprenticeship wage. If you are training in certain sectors, SOLAS pay a weekly allowance equivalent to that wage while you are training off the job. In all other industrial sectors, your off-the-job payments will be the responsibility of your employer, although SOLAS will contribute to any necessary travel and accommodation costs.
To apply for a place on a SOLAS training course, you must first register with your local employment services office or Intreo centre. You will be interviewed 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. You can for SOLAS training courses.
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.