Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) is a critical element in supporting and accelerating development, inclusive growth and poverty reduction through economic transformation and job creation.

Formal vocational training and the new forms of skills development should equip people with the skills enabling them to get good jobs and to face the key challenges posed by globalisation, the informal economy and, in the shorter term, recovery from the global crisis."


A vocational school in Ireland is a type of secondary education school which places a large emphasis on vocational and technical education; this led to some conflict in the 1960s when the Regional Technical College system was in development.

In addition, there is an opportunity to join The Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS), which is a second chance education and training programme which provides courses of up to two years duration for unemployed people. To be eligible for the scheme, people must be over 21 years of age, unemployed for at least six months (156 days) and in receipt of specific social welfare payments. Courses are provided free of charge and meal and travel allowances are available. Courses are full-time and can last up to two years, with 30 hours attendance per week.
The VTOS scheme is operated through Education and Training Boards (ETBs).

​​​​​​The European-wide accepted term "Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET)" refers to 'learning pathways which aim to equip people with knowledge, know-how, skills and/or competences required in particular occupations or more broadly in the labor market' for the jobs of today and tomorrow. VET includes non-formal Skills Development programs which may be delivered in the workplace and which do not lead to formal qualifications. At a time when unemployment remains unacceptably high, and European societies need to urgently address the challenge of social inclusion, the new priorities reinforce joint work at the European level.

Click here to find out more about the EU Vocational Training and Education Statistics

There are various types of vocational training in Europe and worldwide:


Regulated vocational training is a form of initial vocational training provided under the education system, aimed at students with no previous work experience.Such training is provided by public and private schools, part of the obligatory national educational systems in most European countries. ICTIDC partners with many institutions that provide regulatory TVET, both in Ireland and abroad. 


Occupational training is defined as the result of teaching and learning efforts designed to equip workers, employed or unemployed, for a given occupation or job. Defined more strictly, occupational training could be seen as developing a series of competences in unemployed people, or first-time job-seekers, so as to facilitate their integration into the labor market. It is provided outside the education system and an essential condition of occupational training that distinguishes it from regulated vocational training is that it is not academically recognized. 

Click here to find out more about the VET opportunities in the EU


Continuing education, or lifelong adult learning, is a form of vocational training for adults already employed. Many employers pay for employees to complete courses or degrees before offering promotions or career advancement. International investment banks, for instance, might pay for associates to take a course in a foreign language before deploying them to a foreign office. This form of vocational training is common in police departments, government agencies, NGOs, intergovernmental organizations such as the EU and the UN and international businesses. 

Continuing vocational education in Ireland

According to the Irish continuing Vocational Training Survey, examining the suppliers of training, private training companies are used by nearly twice as many employers as public training institutions, such as FE Colleges and Universities. It is recognized that the two sectors are in markets which are often distinct: private companies offering short, focused provision, public providers offering longer courses aimed at nationally-accredited qualifications. Continuing Vocational Training (CVT) is recognized both by the European Union and European national governments as a key contribution to competitiveness and productivity, to adaptation of work forces to changing patterns of production and work organisation, and to social cohesion.

Click here to find out more about the ICTIDC`s continuing education opportunities


Work-based learning programs provide internships, mentoring, workplace simulations, and apprenticeships along with classroom-based study. In a work-based learning program, classroom instruction is linked to workplace skills through placements outside of the school that allow students to experience first-hand what adults do in jobs.

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about the ICTIDC`s work-based VET opportunities