Back to Education Initiative
What is the Back to Education Initiative?
The Back to Education Initiative (BTEI) provides part-time further education courses mainly for young people and adults who have not completed the Leaving Certificate or an equivalent qualification. The courses are free from some participants - see 'Free courses' below.
It gives you the opportunity to combine learning with family, work and other responsibilities. Anyone who has left full-time education can take part in a course, but priority will be given to those without a Leaving Certificate.
BTEI courses are usually level 3 and 4 on the National Qualification Framework (NFQ). The BTEI allows you to study part-time (up to 400 hours per year). It is possible to get a major award at NFQ levels 1-6 when part-time courses are combined to complete a major award.
Who can qualify for the Back to Education Initiative?
The Back to Education Initiative (BTEI) provides part-time courses for adults and young people aged over 16 who left school with few or no formal qualifications or low literacy levels.
The groups given priority access to the BTEI are listed in the Back to Education Initiative Operational Guidelines (pdf). Within these groups, priority is given to people most educationally disadvantaged.
You can also take part in BTEI if you are working and on a low income. The aim of BTEI is to give people an opportunity to combine their learning with family, work and other commitments.
You will qualify for free tuition with BTEI if you:
- Have less than upper-second level education or
- Are getting a jobseeker’s payment or means-tested social welfare payment (there is a list of eligible payments in the BTEI Operational Guidelines (pdf)) or
- Are getting Working Family Payment or
- Have a medical card or
- Are eligible to participate on VTOS or Youthreach.
All other participants are charged a fee. For information about fees, you should contact your local Education and Training Board.
Training allowances for Back to Education Initiative
In general, a training allowance is not paid, but a pro-rata training allowance may be paid to a participant who is not entitled to a social welfare payment but is eligible for Youthreach.
If you are getting a social welfare payment, you can keep your payment and participate in BTEI as long as you continue to satisfy the conditions attached to your payment. If you are getting a jobseeker’s payment you will need to apply for the Part-Time Education Option.
How to apply for Back to Education Initiative
For further information on BTEI options in your area, contact the Guidance Officer at your local Education and Training Board (ETB) and the local Adult Guidance Service. You can also search for BTEI courses on the Further Education and Training Course Hub .
Where to apply for Back to Education Initiative
Apply to your local Education and Training Board.
The ETB provides opportunities for adult learners and early school-leavers who want to upgrade their skills.