What is Further Education and Training (FET)?

Further education is education and training that happens after second-level schooling, but which is not part of the third-level system.

A number of schools, organisations and institutions are involved in delivering education and training for adults and young school leavers. There are 16 education and training boards responsible for delivering primary, post-primary and further education across Ireland. One example is City of Dublin Education and Training Board. 

Click here to access all providers of FET courses in your county and specific area.

FET courses are available on a full-time or part-time basis.


Post-Leaving Certificate (PLC) – open to school-leavers and adult participants, offering a mixture of practical work, academic work and work experience

Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) – provides an opportunity to return to full-time education if you are an unemployed adult or getting certain social welfare payments

Youthreach programme – if you have left school without any formal qualifications, they can provide you with opportunities for basic education, personal development, vocational training and work experience.


Back tp Education Initiative 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

Adult literacy

If you think you could improve your reading and writing skills, you are not alone. 1 in 6 Irish adults find reading and understanding everyday texts difficult. Many people would like to be more confident with numbers. 1 in 4 Irish adults has problems doings maths (NALA, 2013 ), and almost half of Irish adults do not have the digital skills they need to use everyday technology (Accenture, 2020 ).

Find your local Literacy Centre and Guidance Counsellor here.

Community Education provides flexible learning options in your community.  Education programmes are based on individual and local community needs. Evening classes can offer you a social way to learn or to gain a qualification.

Skills for Work provides training and educational opportunities for those in part-time or full-time employment. It helps you to improve the basic skills you need in the workplace such as literacy, numeracy, and IT skills

Skills to Advance offers a wide range of upskilling and reskilling opportunities available to you through your local Education and Training Board (ETB). Training opportunities can vary according to local enterprise needs. To find out what’s available in your area, visit your local ETB. Skills to Advance has opportunities for everyone to upskill or reskill, particularly if you are:

Currently working in a lower-skilled job

Aged 50+

Currently working in a job that is experiencing significant change

Apprenticeships (Full-time)

An apprenticeship is a training and education programme. It mixes learning in a college or training institution with work-based learning in a company. At least half of apprenticeship learning is done on the job.

As an apprentice, you earn while you learn. You have a formal employment contract, and you’re paid a salary during your apprenticeship training. Apprenticeships can last between two and four years. There are 56 different types of apprenticeship available, in 13 different industries.

Qualifying as an apprentice depends on which apprenticeship you’re applying for. Generally, the minimum age is between 16 and 18 years old. There’s no maximum age limit. Some apprenticeships may have minimum educational qualifications.

You’ll find the qualifications you need and full eligibility requirements in the detailed programme information for each apprenticeship. To become an apprentice in Ireland, an employer has to hire you. To find an employer looking to hire an apprentice, search the jobs portal. You can search by location and by apprenticeship profession.

How will I pay for my course/will I get paid while attending my course

Further Education and Training (FET) training courses provided in Education and Training Boards (ETB) training centres are free (except for evening courses) and you may be paid a training allowance for the duration of your course.

To get a FET training allowance https://www.gov.ie/en/service/418e3f-back-to-education-allowance/you must be entitled to a qualifying social welfare payment, such as Jobseeker’s Allowance, Jobseeker’s Benefit, Disability Allowance. However, if you are aged under 18 and attending a Community Training Centre you will get an age-related training allowance https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/education/vocational_education_and_training/fas_training_allowances.html

There may be other grants available to you depending on the type of course you choose to do https://www.fetchcourses.ie/courses/grants

Other Education and Training Opportunities available

Work Placement Experience Programme (WPEP) – offers work experience if you have never had a job or have lost your job. You must be getting a qualifying social welfare payment for a minimum period.

Skillnet Ireland – Skillnet Ireland offers some training to unemployed people.

FIT (Fastrack to IT)
– 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

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