General Information

Welcome to the Waterford VTOS FET Centre

The Waterford VTOS Centre has been offering courses to adults under the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (V.T.O.S.) since 1994. A range of full-time educational and training courses are available to adults who are aged 21 years or over and in receipt of eligible Social Welfare payments.

The emphasis is on providing quality education in a friendly, supportive environment enabling our graduates to progress on to employment, self employment or to further education. Our courses are accredited by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) which testifies to the standard and professionalism of the education and training being offered.

2022 saw us celebrating 28 years in Waterford City and in 2007 we relocated to a new premises in Durand’s Court, Parnell Street with specialized studios for craft, pottery, interior design and Fashion Design, as well as computer laboratories and general classrooms.

Ancillary facilities, such as a student canteen and access to career guidance and study facilities further enhance the learning environment of our students. The Waterford VTOS Centre is located near the city centre and is well serviced by bus routes. A public car park is available approximately three minutes walk from the college.

This website contains helpful information on the courses and supports available. We also have included reflections from former students on the courses they have studied and how they have benefited by attending V.T.O.S. Their words are a source of encouragement and inspiration to those of you considering returning to education.

You are welcome to contact us at e-mail: or visit the centre if you need further information or wish to discuss your options in more detail.  Why not check us out on Facebook @ WAEC VTOS to see our latest news.

Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme – Is it for me?

The Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme is a free full-time educational and training programme for adults who are in receipt of an eligible social welfare payment for at least six months and who are 21 years of age and over by the commencement date of their course. Students retain their social welfare payments for the duration of the course. We offer a range of QQI Level 5 accredited courses over a two year periods.

Who Can Qualify?

  • Jobseekers Assistance/Jobseekers Benefit
  • One Parent Family Payment
  • Disability Allowance
  • Illness Benefit*
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Person signing for Credits
  • Dependent Spouse/Partner
  • Refugee Status
  • Asylum Seekers who are Parents of an Irish Child *
  • Asylum Applicants who are Eligible to Seek Work *
  • Persons and their Dependents Granted Leave to Remain on Humanitarian Grounds

*Allowance on course subject to conditions.

The following categories are also eligible to apply for VTOS provided they are at least 21 years of age and satisfy the Department of Social & Family Affairs that they have not been engaged in work for at least six months, and are in receipt of one of the following Payments:

  • Blind Persons Pension
  • Deserted Wife’s Allowance
  • Deserted Wife’s Benefit
  • Widow/er’s Non- Contributory Pension
  • Widow/er’s Contributory Pension
  • Prisoner’s Wife’s Allowance

Periods spent on FAS Training Courses, Community Employment Schemes, Job Initiative, Youthreach Programmes or time in prison can count towards the six month qualifying period, but a person must be in receipt of one of the relevant social welfare payments immediately before starting a VTOS course.

What are the Educational Requirements?

There are none. While we offer a range of courses from basic to more advanced levels, we particularly welcome people who may not have had the opportunity to progress through secondary school. Places are offered based on eligibility and interview. Students for whom English is a second language will be required to take and pass an English language assessment set by the College.

What Benefits Will I Obtain?

  • You will retain the equivalent of your full weekly Social Welfare Payment and any secondary benefits you already have such as Fuel Allowance, Smog Allowance, Christmas Bonus, Rent Allowance and Medical Card. Payment is made for the duration of the course including holiday periods.
  • Courses including textbooks and examination fees are free of charge.
  • You will receive a small Lunch Allowance.
  • A Travel Allowance is payable for students who travel over 3 miles from their home to the Waterford VTOS Centre. Limited Childcare support is also available through the National Childcare scheme.

When Does VTOS Start?

VTOS Programmes normally starts in September and conclude in June of the following year and are usually over a two year period.

  • However holders of an appropriate QQI level 4 Award may complete the course in 1 year.