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The information on this page can help you to make the first step back into education

Help With Reading, Writing & Maths

You can do this at an Adult Learning Centre in one-to-one classes or with other people. For more information contact the Adult Literacy section of  your local Education & Training Board (ETB). You can also get help online, or work with a tutor on the phone.  NALA is the National Adult Literacy Agency. They offer free classes for adults. Call NALA for free at 1800 20 20 65, or you can text ‘LEARN’ to 50050. You can also Learn Online with NALA.

Learning in Your Community

You can find courses, projects and fun activities in your local area. Over 30,000 people in Ireland access education in their own communities every year. Keep an eye out for open days or call your local library and see what is available. For more information on Education & Training Board (ETB) community education courses, contact the Community Education service in your local ETB.

Adult Education Guidance Services 

The Adult Education Guidance Service supports people to get back to education. Usually, they are most focused on people not in paid employment through the Back To Education Initiative (BTEI) or the Vocational Training Scheme (VTOS). The first step is to contact your local Education Training Board and they will direct you to the Adult Education Guidance Service in your area. 

Further Education & Training

You don’t always need the Leaving Certificate to go to college! More than 250,000 adults do Further Education and Training courses every year. You can search for courses on the FET Course Hub. 


You can earn a wage while you learn new skills and gain qualifications. More people than ever are doing apprenticeships in Ireland. You can work with an employer and your work will lead to a qualification. You can search for apprenticeships on Generation Apprenticeship.   

National Learning Network

National Learning Network (NLN) provides a range of flexible training courses for people who have experienced a setback, have had an accident, a mental health issue, an illness, injury or have a disability and extra support needs. For more information check out the NLN Website

Going to University

A lot of universties run Access Courses every year. An Access Course is usually a  one year course that aims to provide mature students (aged 23 or over on year of entry to a degree programme) with the opportunity to prepare, personally and academically, for an undergraduate course of full-time study of at least three years duration. Get in touch with the university you want to attend and ask them what is on offer, or Google "university access course Ireland" to find out more. Check out the Qualifax Course Finder to see what courses are available.

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