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When will I know if I have a place?

Once you complete the application process at the college the application is forwarded to the Dept. of Social Protection for approval and then to the Tipperary NR VEC. After this process each applicant is written to and informed as to the status of their application. Every applicant has the right to appeal a decision if they are not satisfied with the process or the outcome.


How much does VTOS cost?

There is no cost to the student once the student satisfies the following two requirements;

  • Be at least 21 years of age (from date of application).
  • Be in receipt of a social protection payment for the appropriate duration.


Will I lose any of my existing entitlements?

No, in fact you may be financially better off for participating in our VTOS course as there are incentives for students such as a training bonus of €20.00 p.w. paid to those in receipt of an eligible payment for at least 12 months. Childcare assistance is also available to VTOS students under the Childcare Education and Training Support (CETS) scheme administered by the North Tipperary County Childcare Committee. 


How will I be paid?

VTOS students on admission must provide bank account details as all VTOS monies are paid by ‘pay path’ which means directly into your bank account. Monies are lodged to students’ accounts on a weekly basis on a Friday morning. Students are informed in writing when their VTOS payments will commence and when students finish their course they are again informed in writing when their payment finishes. Students also receive a weekly payment advice slip detailing exactly how much has been paid into their bank account. These advice slips are emailed to nominated addresses.


How is my subject assessed?

Each subject option is assessed on a continuous basis with students building up a portfolio of evidence which is submitted for assessment after the subject has been delivered and after agreement has been reached between the student and the tutor.


What is expected of me?

There is a code of practice which is an agreement between the student and the college which each new VTOS student must accept and sign as part of the admission process. A copy of this agreement is included in this booklet and is presented in detail at induction.


At what times are the courses on?

Classes start at 9.05am and finish at 1.50pm, with afternoon classes starting at 2.20pm and concluding at up to 3.50pm. We have a 15 minute morning coffee break.


How long is the course?

VTOS is a grant assisted course which is available for a period of 2 years. Each year is broken into semesters. In exceptional cases, students may apply for a third year.


What are the holidays like?

Coláiste Éile students get their holidays in line with the nationally agreed school year. Usually that means one week at Halloween, two weeks at Christmas, one week in February and two weeks at Easter.


Do I have to do exams?

It depends, there are some examination assessments as part of the overall continuous assessment process. The majority of assessment is by coursework in the form of assignments.


Will I be the only student who has not studied for many years?

No, many of our students have been away from education for many years. Our VTOS students range in age from their early twenties, up to their mid-sixties.


When should I call in?

Any weekday morning between 9.30am and 12 noon. If these times do not suit please telephone to make an appointment at a more suitable time for you. Coláiste Éile is closed to the public during the standard school holidays.


How do I enrol?

Each applicant must call into the college to fill in an application form. Application forms are available on request from reception.


What is the NFQ - National Framework of Qualifications?

The NFQ provides a structure (a framework) to compare and contrast the level and standard of different qualifications.  This helps you to make informed decisions about your qualification choices and to consider progression opportunities available to you. The NFQ also makes it easier for you to explain to others what qualifications you hold, or are studying for. This becomes very important when you are considering further learning or when you are applying for a job - at home or abroad.


As a student, you need to be aware of key questions you should ask to identify qualifications that are recognised through the NFQ. This information should be used to influence your education and training decisions for the future. The NFQ, illustrated by the “fan diagram” below is a system of ten levels. It is based on standards of knowledge, skill and competence and it incorporates awards made for all kinds of learning, wherever it is gained. School qualifications (awards) awarded by the State Examinations Commission, further education and training qualifications awarded by FETAC and higher education and training qualifications awarded by HETAC,  DIT, other Institutes of Technology and the Universities are all included in the Framework.


Qualifications in the NFQ are quality assured. This means that you, the learner, can have confidence that your course, and the college at which you are studying, are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Quality assurance is intended to ensure that all learners have a high quality learning experience regardless of where you are studying.


What is the QQAI – Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland?

The Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland is to be an amalgamation of the National Qualifications of Ireland (NQAI), the Higher Education and Awards Council (HETAC) and the Further Education and Awards Council (FETAC). This agency (at the time of print) is awaiting the passing of government legislation to put the agency into effect and once the legislative process is complete the Minister for Education & Skills intends establishing this single agency.


The establishment of a single unified agency to assure the quality of qualifications and of students’ experience of education and training at all levels in Ireland will make it easier for employers and others to make sense of Irish qualifications, including within a global context. The strength of current qualifications and quality assurance systems will grow, opening up new opportunities for people to engage and succeed in learning.


What is the ECDL?

The ECDL is the European Computer Driving Licence and is a nationally recognised award in basic computing. The ECDL is the world’s most successful IT skills certification programme. Almost three million people are participating in the programme today in over 60 countries worldwide. In Ireland, the ECDL is administered by ICS SKILLS. Coláiste Éile is a recognised ECDL centre and has delivered this programme to many local adults for many years and the ECDL is an optional extra qualification for VTOS students.


The ECDL establishes a standard for everyone who uses a computer in either a professional or personal capacity. It is a certificate that verifies competence in computer use, making the holder readily mobile within Ireland and internationally. Employers and job seekers all agree on the importance of this standard definition of practical competence in Information Technology.

Coláiste Éile is also a recognised Advanced ECDL centre and these courses are scheduled when sufficient demand arises.


How do I find out more?

Phone: 0504 21166

Fax: 0504 21166 


Post: Coláiste Éile, Railway Road, Thurles, Co. Tipperary.



VTOS Coordinator: Dr Laurenz Egan            VTOS Administrator: Bernie Gleeson