If you are between 15 and 20 years of age and have left school without any formal qualifications, the Youthreach programme can provide you with opportunities for basic education, personal development, vocational training and work experience.
The programme is generally full-time, although part-time courses can be arranged. 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.
Opportunities to improve literacy and numeracy are available at all Youthreach centres.
From 1 January 2013, Youthreach participants who move from jobseeker's payments will no longer have their new payments increased to the maximum €188 per week, in cases where their jobseeker's payment is less than this. However, people under 25 will continue to receive a top-up rate of up to €160 per week. This will apply to new participants only.
The course generally 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 either from the 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 or you can choose to continue other skills training, such as an apprenticeship course.
The courses take place in Youthreach centres managed by Vocational Education Committees (VECs) and FÁS Community Training Centres. Generally, Youthreach centres are open for 35 hours per week (9 a.m. - 4.30 p.m., Monday to Friday).
The Youthreach programme is widely available. You can find your nearest centre under the 'How to apply' section below. Extra part-time places are available through the Back to Education Initiative.
To be eligible for Youthreach, you should be between 15 and 20 years of age. You must have left school, with fewer than 5 Ds in the Junior Certificate or without having attempted the Leaving Certificate. Some exceptions can be made to this rule, for example if you are a lone parent.
The course is free and trainees aged over 16 receive a weekly allowance. In addition, you will also receive a travel allowance if you have to travel more than 4.9 km to the centre. You may qualify for a free childcare place for your child - you should check with the centre or workshop.
From 1 January 2012 there is a reduced payment for new entrants only. Existing participants aged under 18 will continue to get the higher rates. Details of the changes are in Circular 0074/2011 (pdf) published by the Department of Education and Skills.
The 2012 weekly allowances are as follows:
|Trainee(s)||Payment per week|
|Aged 16 years||€40 (new entrants)
€76.65 (existing participants)
|Aged 17 years||€40 (new entrants)
€95.75 (existing participants)
|Aged 18 years and over||€188.00|
You will also get a Training Bonus of €20 per week if you:
From 1 January 2013, Youthreach participants who move from jobseeker's
payments will no longer have their new payments increased to the maximum €188
per week, in cases where their jobseeker's payment is less than this. However,
people under 25 will continue to receive a top-up rate of up to €160 per
week. This will apply to new participants only.
Youthreach courses are held year-round and you can apply to join a course at any time.
Contact your local Youthreach centre or FÁS Community Training Centre and talk to staff about your training needs and interests. You can also contact your local FÁS office or VEC. Staff members are available at these centres to help you with application forms if necessary.
Further information on the Youthreach programme is available from any of the
national Youthreach co-ordinators. You can also find more information by
visiting the Youthreach
website including Webwheel, a resource for
management and staff working in Youthreach and Community Training Centres.
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.