Study Options

A Learner has the choice to study on either the full time option under the Vocational Training Opportunity Scheme (VTOS) or under the part-time option the Back to Education Initiative (BTEI) in our Centre.

The Vocational Training Opportunity Scheme (VTOS) allows a learner to attend the Centre on a full time basis. Where a student wishes to take and meets the criteria for a VTOS place on a programme, the Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board (LOETB) will take over their weekly Job Seekers Allowance or Job Seekers Benefit payment and pay them the equivalent on a weekly basis and in some cases will pay a travel allowance and a meal allowance on a pro rata basis. You can still be eligible for the VTOS programme if you are signing for credits and other payments. Please check with the Centre for more information.

The Back to Education Initiative (BTEI) is a part time option available to learners who want to study on a part-time basis. The part time option is suitable to workers who want to upskill or retrain. If a learner is in receipt of Job Seekers Allowance or Job Seekers Benefit they can still study on a part time basis and continue to receive their payment after notifying the Department of Social and Family Affairs.

The learner may be entitled to the Childcare Education and Training Support programme (CETS), which can help by supporting learners who are parents by providing subsidised childcare places (see section on CETS).

We also encourage learners who may not meet the criteria for either VTOS or BTEI and wish to pay the course fees and who are not in receipt of a Social Welfare payment to contact us to discuss their options to retrain and up skill with us at Portarlington Further Education and Training Centre.

Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS)

The VTOS scheme provides a range of courses to meet the education and training needs of unemployed people. It gives participants opportunities to improve their general level of education, gain certification, develop their skills and prepare for employment, self-employment and further education and training. Applicants must be aged twenty one years or older and be in receipt of a social welfare payment for at least 6 months before their chosen VTOS course begins.

Successful applicants can receive a VTOS payment for the duration of their course equivalent to their social welfare payment. They may be able to avail of additional supports including childcare support, meal and travel allowances. On some courses books and course materials may also be provided on loan for the duration of the academic year.

Back to Education Initiative (BTEI)

The Back to Education Initiative (BTEI), provides part-time further education programmes for adults over the age of eighteen years. BTEI courses cover Junior and Leaving Certificate subjects along with major and minor QQI awards from Levels 2 to 5. As BTEI provides part-time options in learning it offers the chance to combine a return to education and training with family, work and other responsibilities.

BTEI entry requirements

BTEI courses can be provided free of charge to adults who have left full-time education and meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Have less than upper second level education (Leaving Certificate)
  • Have a medical card or are the dependent of a medical card holder
  • Are in receipt of a social welfare payment (e.g. Jobseeker Allowance/ Benefit, One Parent Family
  • Payment, Cares Allowance, Disability Allowance, etc.)
  • Course fees may apply to applicants who do not meet these criteria.

Childcare Education and Training Support programme (CETS)

The objective of the CETS Programme is to support parents on eligible training courses, by providing subsidised childcare places. CETS is only available through participating early years services. The CETS Programme provides childcare to certain training course participants on courses provided by the Education and Training Boards (ETB, formerly FAS and VEC) and Secondary Schools. Places can be full-time, part-time, afterschool only or after-school with transport places. ETBs and Solas have sole responsibility for deciding who is eligible to avail of this strand of the TEC Programme. Participants on the following Further Education Programmes are eligible to apply for CETS funding:
  • CETS approved Education and Training Board (ETB) courses
  • CETS approved Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS)
  • CETS approved Youthreach • Back to Education Initiative (BTEI)
  • Secondary school students completing Junior or Leaving Certificate cycle
To apply for CETS, Parent must provide a letter from their training provider to include hours of course and start and finish dates. Once you have found a childcare service, the service will ask you for a copy of your letter of eligibility as evidence that you are eligible for the CETS programme. They will ask you to complete a TEC Child Registration Form, with details of you and your child’s PPS numbers, dates of birth, etc., along with information about the type of childcare place required. They may also ask you for proof of you and your child’s PPS numbers and dates of birth. The maximum amount that you can be charged per week for a CETS place is:
  • Full-time Childcare Place – €25 per week
  • Part-time Childcare Place – €15 per week
  • After-school Childcare Place – €5 per week
  • After-school (with transport) Childcare Place – €15 per week
For more information on the CETS programme please visit the Laois Childcare website through the following link:


Portarlington FETC

Bracklone Street


County Laois


  • Study Room
  • Free Parking
  • Disabled Parking
  • Canteen

Centre Opening Times

Monday 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Tuesday 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Wednesday 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Thursday 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
Friday 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

* Bank Holidays and Public Holidays – Closed



Margaret Morrin, Centre Director



(057) 8623161


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Portarlington Further Education Centre, Bracklone Street, Portarlington, Co. Laois, R32 NW63, Ireland


Read what our past students  have to say about their experience with Portarlington Further Education and Training Centre

“I found the course useful and interesting. Teachers were very helpful and understanding as most of us were going back to education after many years of not studying.
After successfully completing the first year of course I was lucky enough to get work experience, as an Accounts Assistant.”
Zane Polaskova (Student)
Accounts Assistant
“The decision to return to education was one of the best choices I made, the thought seemed daunting at the start but I soon settled in. All of the tutors were very helpful and the students gave each other support, I made some great friends who will be friends for life. The course I chose was Office Administration, this course most definitely helped me to secure the job I have today.”
Maeve O'Carroll (Student)
Administrator, Court Services