Youthreach FAQ


 Q1: What is Youthreach & who is it for?

A: Youthreach is a full-time programme, usually over two years, for young people, aged 15 to 20, who left school early and are not working.  It leads to awards typically at level 3 and 4 on the NFQ.

 Q2: How will Youthreach help me?

A: Learners are supported in setting individual learning plans aimed at increasing their self-esteem, skills and knowledge and ability to get a job.

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 Q3: How does Youthreach work?

A: The course generally lasts from 1 to 2 years, although it can be flexible, depending on individual needs.  If you complete the basic training successfully, you will be awarded a Foundation Certification from Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) or the Junior Certificate.  Having completed a Foundation Programme, you may continue to a Progression Programme.  This will give you the opportunity to progress to the Leaving Certificate Applied course or a higher level QQI award or you can choose to continue other skills training, such as an apprenticeship course.

The courses take place in Youthreach centres managed by Education and Training Boards (ETBs) and Community Training Centres.  Generally Youthreach centres are open for 35 hours per week (9am - 4.30pm Monday to Friday).

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 Q4: What are the rules to access the Youthreach programme?

A: The criteria you must meet to access the Youthreach programme depends on whether you apply to a Youthreach centre managed by an Education and Training Borad (ETB) or a Community Training Centre.

ETB Youthreach programme

To be eligible for Youthreach provided by your local ETB, you should be between 15 and 20 years of age.  You must be unemployed and an early school leaver without any vocational training and who has not attempted the Leaving Certificate.  Some exceptions can be made to this rule, for example if you are a lone parent.

Community Training Centre Youthreach programme

To be eligible for Youthreach provided by your local Community Training Centre, you should be between 16 and 21 years of age.  However, young people under the age of 25 who are disadvantaged and unemployed may attend the programme with agreement from SOLAS.

The training on offer varies from centre to centre, often depending on the facilities available.  If you have an interest in a particular career, you should look around for a centre offering a suitable course rather than applying automatically to the centre nearest to you.

Jobseeker's payment

Participants leaving Youthreach can apply for a jobseeker's payment.  The 3 month disqualification rule which applies to many students does not apply to Youthreach participants.

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 Q5: What allowances are available on Youthreach?

A: Courses are free and trainees aged over 16 receive a weekly allowance.  You will get a travel allowance if you have to travel 5km or more to the centre.  You may also qualify for free childcare and a meal allowance - you should check with the centre.

From January 2023, weekly allowances are as follows:

 Trainee(s)  Maximum payment per week 
 16 - 17 years   €45
 18 years or older   €220 (with some exceptions)

If you are getting a reduced age-related Jobseeker's Allowance (JA) before starting Youthreach any means that were deducted from your JA will also be deducted from your training allowance.  This applies to people getting a reduced age-related basic Supplementary Welfare Allowance (SWA).

If you are over 18 years of age and you are currently getting a social welfare payment of more than €220, you will continue to get the higher amount while you are on Youthreach as long as your are eligible.

You can take up part-time work while on Youthreach without it affecting your training allowance.

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 Q6: How do I apply?

A: Youthreach courses are held all year-round and you can apply to join a course at any time.

Contact your local Youthreach Centre or Community Training Centre and talk to staff about your training needs and interests.  You can also contact your local employment services office or ETB.  Staff members are available at these centres to help you with application forms if necessary.

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 Q7: Where can I find Youthreach course information?

A: You can find Youthreach course information and provider contact details on Qualifax or 

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