VTOS is an educational opportunities scheme that aims to provide second chance education to people who have been unemployed for at least six months. The programme offers unemployed people the opportunity of returning to structured learning in an adult setting and a range of courses specifically designed to meet their education and training needs. Operated through local Education and Training Boards (ETBs), VTOS provides learners opportunities to improve their general level of education, gain certification, develop their skills and prepare for employment, self-employment and/or further education and training. In particular, the scheme is aimed at unemployed people who are early school leavers.
You may qualify for the VTOS scheme if you are aged over 21 years or over and are:
- In receipt of Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance, or signing for credits, for at least six months; or
- In receipt of One-Parent Family Payment, Disability Allowance, Illness Benefit or Invalidity Pension for at least six months;
- In receipt of Blind Pension, Deserted Wives Allowance/Benefit, Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Contributory Pension, Widow’s, Widower’s or Surviving Civil Partner’s Non-Contributory Pension, or Prisoner’s Wife’s Allowance for at least six months; or
- A dependent spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of an eligible person;
- A person who received statutory redundancy but who has not been in receipt of a qualifying payment for the required period.
Periods spent on FET training courses, Community Employment Schemes, Job Initiative, Youthreach programmes and time spent in prison may count towards the qualifying period.
I would recommend that the individual in question make direct contact with their local INTREO office, or the Adult Guidance Service in their local ETB, in relation to their eligibility to transfer to a VTOS programme.