Eligibility Criteria for Unemployed People

Find out if you are eligible to attend training courses with our Skillnets training networks by reading the information below. 

If you are eligible you will have access to a range of free training courses and the next step is to look for a training course or training network that will be the most relevant for you. 

Did you know that some of our training courses include work placements? These courses have additional eligibility criteria. For more information, see the Training and Work Placements page.

Eligibility Criteria

Unemployed people can participate in Skillnets training programmes, in areas that are in demand by employers, subject to the eligibility criteria listed below.

The following details the categories of unemployed individuals who are eligible/ineligible to participate in Skillnets training programmes, the conditions regarding course duration and further important information on eligibility and training programme participation.

Job-seekers Allowance (JA) / Job-seekers Benefit (JB) Recipients

Other Welfare Payment Recipients

Course Duration Conditions for Welfare Recipients

Eligible Individuals who are not Welfare Payment Recipients

Ineligible Unemployed Individuals

Additional Important Information on Eligibility Criteria for Job-seekers
 

Job-seekers Allowance (JA) / Job-seekers Benefit (JB) Recipients

Unemployed persons with an entitlement to a Jobseekers Allowance (JA) or Jobseekers Benefit (JB) payment from the Department of Social Protection (DSP) may retain such payments subject to the Back to Education criteria of that Department.  

You must also refer to Course Duration Conditions and Additional Important Information as outlined below.

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Other Welfare Payment Recipients

Persons in receipt of other forms of income support from DSP may retain such payments subject to the Back to Education criteria of that Department.
Other forms of income support include:

  • Disability Allowance
  • Blind Pension
  • Invalidity Pension
  • Illness Benefit
  • Supplementary Welfare Allowance
  • Adult Dependants
  • One Parent Family Payment
  • Back-to-Work Allowance
  • Back-to-Work Enterprise Allowance
  • Short-term Enterprise Allowance
  • Farm Assist

You must also refer to Course Duration Conditions and Additional Important Information as outlined below.

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Course Duration Conditions for Welfare Recipients

Courses may be full or part-time and may be continuous or staggered over a period of time. If the course is part of the Job-seekers Support Programme (JSSP) it will include a work placement, the duration of which is included in the overall course duration.

Welfare recipients who wish to enrol in a course must first ascertain from the Skillnets training network the course code and duration before they contact their Social Welfare Local Office/Scheme Area.

Courses of 20 or less days’ duration

Skillnets courses of 20 or less days’ duration may be pursued without prior approval from Social Welfare Local Offices/Scheme Areas. Individuals in receipt of a Job-seekers payment or other payment (listed above) should inform their local offices, wherever possible in advance, of their intention to participate in such short programmes. If requested by the local office, the Skillnets’ networks will supply written details of the courses to the relevant trainees.
 

Courses exceeding 20 days’ duration

Individuals in receipt of a Job-seekers payment or other payment (listed above) must receive prior approval from their Social Welfare Local Offices/Scheme Area in order to participate on any Skillnets' training programme which exceeds 20 days in duration. For example, Disability Allowance recipients should contact the Disability Allowance Section within DSP.

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Eligible Individuals who are not Welfare Payment Recipients

Individuals who are not in receipt of a welfare payment from DSP and whose circumstances are described below, are eligible to participate in Skillnets' training  programmes, regardless of the course duration.

  • Former sole traders and business owners
  • Recent graduates who are unemployed
  • Individuals who fail to qualify for social welfare payments because of a spouse’s income
  • Individuals signing on for credits but in receipt of no social welfare payment
  • Individuals who have recently accepted redundancy payments
  • Non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals holding immigration Stamp 4

You must also refer to the Additional Important Information as outlined below.

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Ineligible Unemployed Individuals

Skillnets, under its current mandate, does not provide training to unemployed people who fall into any of the following categories:

  • Current participants on Community Employment (CE) Schemes
  • Current participants on Jobs Initiative (JI) Schemes
  • Non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals holding immigration Stamp 1, Stamp 2 or Stamp 3  
  • Full-time students engaged in second or third-level education

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Additional Important Information on Eligibility Criteria for Job-seekers

  1. The Social Welfare Local Office (SWLO) is the final arbiter of welfare recipient eligibility.
  2. Where eligibility has been determined, this is not a guarantee of selection. Once eligibility has been established, each Skillnets training network is the final arbiter on who participates in training based on the network’s programme selection criteria.
  3. An application to attend a Skillnets training programme is not a guarantee of selection. An interest in participating in a Skillnets training programme does not confer automatic entitlement.
  4. Welfare recipients wishing to enrol on courses of 20 days or less in duration (including work placements, if applicable) are required to give Skillnets permission to pass information (i.e. name, PPS number, course name, course dates) to the Department of Social Protection for statistical and recording purposes.
  5. Potential trainees should be aware that network managers may seek information about previous work history, education and career aspirations so as to ensure the programme they are interested in completing is relevant.
  6. If training occurs on the same day as a signing day, it is the responsibility of the unemployed trainee to inform the Social Welfare Local Office and arrange an alternative signing day prior to commencing training.
  7. All trainees, including unemployed trainees, are required to complete a Participant Profile Form and Evaluation Form after completing a training programme.
  8. Skillnets and/or a network may contact unemployed trainees after a programme is complete for the purposes of evaluating programmes and determining how people have progressed since completing training.

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