BTEI (Back to Education Initiative)

B.T.E.I. aims to enable people to return to education by providing flexible, innovative opportunities to access a variety of adult education programmes. Courses are part-time, which allows people to combine learning with family, work and other responsibilities.

Anyone who has left full-time education can take part in a course being offered, but priority will be given to those with less than upper second-level standard of education — for example, if you left school without getting your Leaving Certificate.

The range of programmes on offer is wide and varied: Computers, Communications, Arts and Crafts, Childcare, Horticulture, Healthcare, Woodwork, Hairdressing, Barbering and ESOL (English for Speakers of other Languages) are just a sample.  Junior and Leaving Certificate subjects can also be offered. Search for Courses here.

Getting a certificate is by no means compulsory, but courses generally lead to an award or certificate from Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), the national awarding body. (These were formerly known as FETAC awards). Such awards offer pathways to employment and higher education and are nationally and internationally recognised. Other certification that can be obtained includes Junior Certificate, Leaving Certificate and ECDL.

Courses are FREE to persons entitled to a medical card, a Jobseeker’s payment, a means-tested welfare payment, or a Family Income Supplement. Dependents of persons on such payments are also eligible. Persons who are unwaged and with less than upper second level education will be entitled to a reduction in fees.

Full fees will apply to those who do not fit into the above categories.

Generally people will not be paid while doing a BTEI course but they will not lose any of their Social Welfare entitlements.  However on certain payments, you are expected to remain eligible for work.  It is best to discuss individual circumstances with your local Social Welfare office.

BTEI courses are available in many of Longford and Westmeath Adult Education Centres, and also in partnership with a number of agencies throughout Longford and Westmeath. Courses are run on a flexible part-time basis subject to demand. On average each module (class) will run for one or two sessions per week. Classes are offered throughout the year in the mornings, afternoons and evenings.

Participation on part-time programmes can provide opportunities to:

  • Continue your learning
  • Obtain national certification
  • Develop new skills
  • Pursue new employment opportunities

BTEI Contacts & Locations

Search for Courses