Looking for work: education and training


If you are about to lose your job or if you are unemployed you can consider going back to education or training. You can continue your education or take part in a training course in order to develop your skills, either through the formal school and college system or outside of it.

The Department of Further and Higher Education has an online portal for people looking to upskill or retrain.

The right course has:

  • Information on further education and training places
  • Details of the courses available in higher education
  • Information for people on a social welfare payment who want to begin a course

Training and education courses for unemployed people

The Springboard Programme provides higher education places for unemployed people on a range of part-time courses from Levels 6 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications.

Social welfare supports for people returning to education

The Back to Education Programme can support people getting a social welfare payment to access second-level and third-level education.

The Part-Time Education Option allows you to keep your Jobseeker's Allowance or Jobseeker's Benefit and attend a part-time day or evening course that will improve your chances of getting a job.

The Education, Training and Development Option allows you to keep your jobseeker’s payment and attend a course not covered by the standard Back to Education Allowance, such as a personal development course.

Training courses, programmes and apprenticeships

You don't need formal qualifications to take part in many of the full-time and part-time courses that are on offer in the adult education and community education sectors. Adult education courses can include further and third-level education or continuing education and training. The range of courses available includes both part-time and full-time courses. Community education refers to adult education and learning, generally outside the formal education sector. It promotes personalised learning and flexibility within learning groups. There are a number of sources of information on returning to education which can tell you more about the courses which may be available to you.

The Education and Training Boards (ETBs), SOLAS and other agencies fund a number of continuing education and training programmes. ETBs organise second-level, adult, community and second chance education. You can contact your local ETB for more details. They also operate the Vocational Training and Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) which provides a range of courses to meet the education and training needs of unemployed people.

Further Education and Training (FET) courses offer you an opportunity to develop or upgrade your skills in the commercial and industrial sectors if you are unemployed or have been made redundant. You can search online for training courses.

The Local Training Initiative Programme (LTI) is a project-based training and work experience programme carried out in the local community. It is run by local community groups. The programme is designed for people who are unemployed, who are finding it difficult to access the labour market. It is primarily aimed at people between 18 and 35 years old. You can access LTI progammes through your local ETB Training Centre or on fetchcourses.ie.

Community Training Centres are independent community-based organisations. They look after the training and employment needs of early school leavers, primarily aged between 16 and 21. If you are between 15 and 20 years of age and have left school without any formal qualifications, the Youthreach programme will provide you with opportunities for basic education, personal development, vocational training and work experience.

Apprenticeships offer you a mixture of on-the-job training with an employer and off-the job training in a training centre. You can get more details in our document on apprenticeships.

Training and work experience

Employment schemes such as Community Employment and Tús provide short-term work opportunities for unemployed people. You can read more in our document, Schemes to support employment.

Other agencies and information supports

Agencies such as Fáilte Ireland, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Teagasc, Coillte and the Crafts Council of Ireland offer you a range of specialist courses in their specific areas of work.

Other organisations such as Centres for the Unemployed, Family Resource Centres and Local Development Companies also provide training.

Skillnet Ireland lets groups of private sector companies set up training networks to deliver a range of accredited and industry-recognised programmes. Skillnet Ireland also offers some training to eligible unemployed people. If you are unemployed you will not pay for this training.

Qualifax provides comprehensive information on further and higher education and training courses. They include different types of courses some of which lead to qualifications while others do not. The database includes information for adult learners and recognition of prior learning with links to college and other education and training websites.

Page edited: 27 January 2021