According to CSO figures (linked here) there is a correlation between educational attainment and labour market participation. Amongst people aged 25-65, those who have achieved a third level education have an 88% employment rate while those who have only achieved a primary school education or lower have a 39% employment rate. Similarly, those with higher educational attainment have a lower chance of unemployment.
Back to Education Initiative
The Back to Education Initiative is aimed at young people and adults who do not have a leaving certificate or equivalent qualification. It provides part-time accredited programmes which lead toward awards on the National Framework of Qualifications. These qualifications can then be used to pursue employment or further education.
A person looking to qualify for the BTEI will need to have less than upper-second level education (Leaving Cert cycle) or be on a Jobseeker’s payment (or means-tested social welfare payment ), be on Working Family Payment, have a medical card, or be eligible for VTOS or Youthreach. Those who wish to participate in BTEI and are currently on a Social Welfare payment can keep their current payment. Although they will need to continue to satisfy the conditions attached to their payment, and those on a Jobseekers payment will need to apply for the Part-Time Education Option.
There are a wide variety of courses available on BTEI, ranging from back to education courses, to special needs assistant courses, computer payroll courses, and beginner level digital literacy courses. Depending on the range and depth of the course, the course can include Junior or Leaving Cert subjects alongside modules not covered by the Junior and Leaving Certificate.
BTEI courses can be found by searching fetchcourses.ie (linked here) or contacting the Adult Education Officer, Community Education Facilitator, or Adult Guidance Officer at the local Education Training Board. A list of Education Training Boards and their links can be found (linked here).
Local Training Initiatives
Another option is the Local Training Initiatives. These courses are aimed at people who are unemployed and experiencing difficulty accessing the labour market. LTI courses are carried out at a local level and are run by local community groups and organisations. They are more hands on, consisting of project-based training and work experience. The method of teaching in LTIs is often beneficial to people who found the typical rote learning of primary/secondary education difficult.
The INOU has had great success with our LTI courses Building Futures (QQI Level 5) and Shaping Futures (QQI Level 4). The majority of our graduates have gone directly into employment or on to further or higher education, with many of the Shaping Futures students choosing to spend a second year with us in the Building Futures programme. More information on Shaping Futures is linked here, and Building Futures is linked here.
There are many other LTI providers around the country. Courses can again be found by searching fetchcourses.ie (linked here) or contacting the Adult Education Officer, Community Education Facilitator, or Adult Guidance Officer at the local Education Training Board. A list of Education Training Boards and their links can be found (linked here).