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)
- 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
- 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
- Study Room
- Free Parking
- Disabled Parking
Centre Opening Times
* Bank Holidays and Public Holidays – Closed
Margaret Morrin, Centre Director
Read what our past students have to say about their experience with Portarlington Further Education and Training Centre
After successfully completing the first year of course I was lucky enough to get work experience, as an Accounts Assistant.”