Fine Gael TD for Kildare North, Anthony Lawlor, is encouraging people who are interested in furthering their education to check out the varying courses and supports available locally. There are a myriad of schools and community centres scattered throughout Kildare offering fantastic courses, many of which are FETAC Level 5 and over.

“With the new school year looming, many people are considering whether a return to education may be possible in order to either upskill for employment prospects or simply fulfil a desire to expand a knowledge base. Unfortunately many can be deterred from returning to education because of family commitments or financial hardship. Obviously, the prospect of having to travel long distances to attend a university or an IT at great financial cost is a significant stumbling block, However, with the many courses and supports on offer locally within Kildare schools and community centres, I would encourage people to take the plunge.

“There is no shortage of courses available throughout Kildare North, For example Kildare VEC have an excellent array of courses commencing from September in Naas, Leixlip, Maynooth, Carbury, Allenwood, Coill Dubh, Derrinturn and Coill Dubh. The full list are available on Scoil Mhuire, Clane’s Community School also has a superb Adult Education Programme offering a wide variety of courses from make up application to psychology. These are just a few examples of the wonderful options on offer.

“Financial restraints are an obvious problem. However the Back to Education Allowance is available for individuals to undertake full time courses who have been in receipt of certain social welfare payments, such as jobseekers or lone parents for specific time periods. The Back to Education Initiative is also a very worthwhile opportunity for young people and adults to return to part time, flexible learninng. The BTEI is free to those without i) second level education, ii) in receipt of social welfare payment or iii) hold a medical card. The Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) is aimed towards unemployed people who were young school leavers.

“With the current high level of unemployment further education and upskilling is an important step towards re-entry into the workforce. The obstacles to achieve this may not be as difficult as first thought. If you have any queries or require assistance regarding a return to education, please do not hesitate to contact my office on 045 888488”.