VTOS stands for Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme. This scheme was devised with adults in mind and is run by the Galway-Roscommon Education & Training Board. Eligible participants are offered the chance to return to full-time education and training while retaining their social welfare benefits.
VTOS courses are provided free of charge. Students get a training allowance equal to their social welfare payment and are entitled to a meal and travel allowance as well.
To qualify for VTOS, generally students must be:
At least 21 years of age and getting one of the following payments for at least six months immediately before the commencement of the course
• Jobseeker’s Benefit/Allowance
• Disability Allowance
• One-Parent Family Allowance
• Illness Benefit
• Invalidity Pension
The following categories are also eligible to apply for VTOS, provided they are at least 21 years of age and can satisfy the Department of Social Protection that they have not been engaged in work for at least six months, and are in receipt of one of the following payments:
• Blind Person’s Pension
• Widow/er’s non-contributory pension
• Deserted Wife’s Benefit/Allowance
• Prisoner’s Wife’s Allowance
Statutory Redundancy but not in receipt of a payment?
A person who received statutory redundancy but who has not been in receipt of a qualifying payment for the required period may be permitted to participate in a VTOS course. This applies solely to persons in receipt of, or awaiting payment of, agreed statutory redundancy, who are over 21 years of age and available for a full-time course. Persons signing for credits for at least six months, and the Dependent Spouse of an eligible person can also apply, but will not receive a training allowance.
Who else can apply for free courses?
Periods spent in receipt of a Carer’s Allowance, on SOLAS Training Courses, Community Employment Schemes, Jobs Initiative, and Youthreach Programmes, or time in Prison, can count towards this six month qualifying period but a person must be getting one of the relevant social protection payments immediately before the course commencement date.
Can I get help to pay for childcare while I study?
Childcare Assistance: The Department for Children and Youth Affairs offers supports; Childcare, Employment and Training Support Scheme, (CETS). Subvention (Subsidy) is given for each full-time, part-time and half-time childcare place per week, for 43 weeks per annum. Once offered a place on VTOS you will be given an up to date CETS providers list.