Further education and training (FET) courses

What is further education and training (FET)?

Further education and training (FET) covers any education and training after second-level education (post-primary school) and up to third-level education (higher level education).

FET is for adults and young people aged over 16.

You can still participate in a FET course, if you left school and didn’t complete your second-level education.

FET can help you get new skills if you are:

  • Leaving school
  • Unemployed
  • Looking for your first job
  • Changing direction in your career

You can choose from many FET courses and programmes.

FET includes:

Finding the right FET course

There is a wide range of further education and training (FET) courses available.

You can choose from:

Qualifax has a database of all further education courses. It also has the information you need to make an informed choice about your education, training and career path. How to qualify and what training allowances are available vary from course to course, so check the details of each course carefully.

You can also get more information on FET courses, how to access them and the financial supports available on The Right Course portal on Gov.ie.

Help to find the right course

If you need help finding a FET course, you can contact the Adult Educational Guidance and Information Service.

This service is available to:

  • Everyone over 18
  • People over 16 who are not in full-time education.

The service prioritises people who are unemployed.

Read more about returning to education.

Further education and training qualifications

The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) allows the different levels of qualifications to be compared. There are 10 Levels on the NFQ. FET courses are provided at Levels 1 to 6 on the NFQ.

Progression to third-level education

If you have a qualification at NFQ Level 5 and Level 6, you can progress to third-level education with the Higher Education Links Scheme.

The tertiary education programme is a new pathway to third level education. You start in a further education institution and progress to a higher education institution to complete a degree.

You can also access third-level education as a mature student.

Education and training supports if you are unemployed

If you are unemployed, you can access further education and training through a number of programmes:

Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS)

If you are an unemployed or getting certain social welfare payments, the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) can help you to return to full-time education.

VTOS courses are particularly suitable if you have been unemployed or out of school for some time.

Back to Education Training Programme

The Back to Education Training Programme can help you to return to part-time or full-time education and keep your social welfare payment or get a Back to Education Allowance.

Work Placement Experience Programme (WPEP)

The Work Placement Experience Programme (WPEP) can provide you with work experience if you have never had a job, or if you have lost your job.

You must be getting a qualifying social welfare payment for a minimum time. If you qualify, you will get a weekly WPEP allowance.

Training Support Grant (TSG)

The Training Support Grant (TSG) is available to people on certain qualifying payments or schemes, including the Work Placement Experience Programme.

It funds quick access to short-term training, including courses up to and including QQI level 6.

You may get a TSG if your Employment Personal Adviser finds you can’t start a job without:

  • Getting an immediate skill
  • Getting or renewing a certification or permit.

You must apply for a TSG through your Employment Personal Adviser or Job Coach.

Fastrack to IT

FIT (Fastrack to IT) provides information technology training for people who are getting certain social welfare payments or signing for credits.

Courses include office administration, web design and programming, broadband communications and PC maintenance.

The Traineeship Programme

The Traineeship Programme provides training and work experience. The duration of the programme depends on your area of training. You may keep your social welfare payment or get a FET training allowance.

To get a FET training allowance, you must be entitled to a qualifying social welfare payment, such as Jobseeker's Allowance or Jobseeker's Benefit.

Specific Skills Training

Specific Skills Training lets you learn new work-related skills. The courses on offer vary from centre to centre and from year to year, with different levels of certification.

The courses are run during the day and in the evenings. Priority on daytime courses is given to unemployed people. A day course is free to all unemployed people, even if you are not getting a social welfare payment. An evening course is not free unless you are getting a social welfare payment.

You may be able to keep your social welfare payment or get a FET training allowance if you are doing a day course. To get a FET training allowance, you must be entitled to a qualifying social welfare payment, such as Jobseeker's Allowance or Jobseeker's Benefit.

Local Training Initiative Programme (LTI)

Local Training Initiative Programme (LTI) is for people who are unemployed and finding it difficult to get a job. It is for people aged 18-35. Courses are full-time and lead to major awards on the NFQ at levels 3, 4 and 5.

Other education and training supports

For younger people


If you are aged between 15 and 20 and have left school without any formal qualifications, the Youthreach programme will provide you with opportunities for:

  • Basic education
  • Personal development
  • Vocational training
  • Work experience.

Community Training Centres (CTCs)

Community Training Centres (CTCs) are independent community-based organisations, which provide training and education for early school leavers, primarily aged between 16 and 21.

Courses are generally for one year, full-time, and lead to major awards on the NFQ at levels 3 and 4.

Online learning

eCollege is the national online learning service for further education and training.

Learn with NALA can help you improve your reading, writing, maths, and digital skills up to Level 3.

Accessing higher education

Tertiary education programme

The tertiary education programme lets you start in a further education setting and progress to a higher education institution to complete a degree.


Springboard+ provides free higher education places for unemployed people. You can keep your social welfare payment for as long are you are entitled to it while you are participating on a Springboard+ course. If you are working, only level 6 courses are free.

If you are working

Skills for Work

Skills for Work can help you to improve the basic skills you need in the workplace such as literacy, numeracy, and IT skills.

The courses are 35 hours long and free of charge. It is delivered by the Educational and Training Boards for people in part-time or full-time employment.

Skillnet Ireland

Skillnet Ireland supports groups of private sector companies to set up training networks to deliver a range of accredited or industry-recognised programmes.

Skillnet Ireland offers some training to unemployed people. If you are unemployed, you will not pay for this training.

Financial supports

Depending on your situation, you may be able to access financial supports, such as:

You can find out more about financial supports available to you from your local Citizens Information Centre.

Page edited: 11 April 2024