Childcare during vocational training


If you have applied for a vocational training course, you may need childcare. Under the Childcare Employment and Training Support (CETS) scheme, you could qualify for a subsidised childcare place for your child. CETS can provide full-time, part-time or after-school childcare places. The CETS scheme is managed by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth (DCEDIY) via the City and County Childcare Committees.

From March 2017, parents attending secondary school were also entitled to receive childcare funding under CETS.

There is a separate Community Employment Childcare Programme for parents who need childcare in order to take up a CE place.

A new single National Childcare Scheme (NCS) has been developed to replace a number of childcare programmes including CETS.

The CETS programme closed to new applicants on 14 February 2020. If you are registered on the CETS programme, you can choose to stay on it until you are no longer eligible or transfer to the NCS.

You can find more information on the scheme on You can read frequently asked questions about the National Childcare Scheme.

Expansion of CETS

It was announced on 27 March 2017 that parents attending secondary school would now be entitled to receive childcare funding under CETS.

Courses that qualify for CETS

Not all Education and Training Board courses qualify for CETS. Courses in the following programmes may be approved as qualifying: Youthreach, Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS), Further Education and Training (FET) courses (i.e. specific skills training and traineeships).

Courses for secondary school students completing Junior or Leaving Certificate cycle and Back to Education Initiative (BTEI) courses also qualify for CETS.

Courses that do not qualify for CETS

You did not qualify for CETS if you are on one of the following: Job Initiative, SOLAS apprenticeship, an evening course, supported employment or a Job Club.


FÁS was dissolved and some of its functions were transferred to SOLAS the new further education and training authority. The FÁS training division was transfered to the 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs) which replaced VECs.


The number of places available under CETS is limited. Places are allocated on a first-come first-served basis.

You could qualify for a childcare place while on a vocational training course if:

  • You are currently unemployed and wish to undertake an ETB vocational training course. Not all ETB courses qualify for CETS.
  • You are the main carer of a child or children
  • You need assistance with child care in order to take up a training opportunity

Parents attending secondary school are also now entitled to receive childcare funding under CETS.

There is a separate Community Employment Childcare Programme for parents who need childcare in order to take up a CE place.


The maximum amount per child that childcare providers may charge to parents per week is:

  • Full-time: €25 per week
  • Part time: €15 per week
  • Afterschool: €5 per week
  • Afterschool with pickup service: €15

Services may not charge for weeks where the service is not open.

How to apply

For the 2019/2020 programme year, you should let the course provider know that you have child care needs and want to be considered for CETS.

When you get your letter offering you a place on a course, you will also be given a list of local childcare providers. You should use this letter to book a place for your child or children with a childcare provider.

When your training starts you will get a letter confirming that you have started the course and giving the start and finish dates. You should show this letter to the childcare provider to confirm the duration of your childcare place.

The CETS programme closed to new applicants on 14 February 2020.

You can apply for support under the National Childcare Scheme. Applications should be made online at To apply online you will need:

  • a verified MyGovID account
  • Your children’s information such as date of birth and PPSN
  • Your employment and income related details
  • Your partner’s PPSN
  • Your partner’s employment and income related details

More information on getting and using a verified MyGovID is available on the MyGovID website.

You can apply by post by contacting the Parent Support Centre – see ‘Where to apply’ below. These applications will take longer to process and may affect the start date from which your subsidy can be paid.

You can read more in this information booklet for parents (pdf).

Where to apply

Contact your course provider about your child care needs. You can also contact your local City or County Childcare Committee who can help you find services in your area.

Visit for more information on the National Childcare Scheme or contact the National Childcare Scheme Parent Support Centre. Call +353 1 906 8530 (9am - 5pm Monday to Friday) or email

Page edited: 15 October 2020