Back to Education Initiative



The Back to Education Initiative (BTEI) provides part-time Further Education programmes for young people and adults. This aim is to give people an opportunity to combine a return to learning with family, work and other responsibilities.

Contact Information

West Cork
Ms Teresa O’Sullivan
BTEI Co-ordinator
The Sutherland Centre,
North Street,
Co. Cork
Tel: 028-40293
Fax: 028-22070
Mobile: 087-3743022


East Cork
Mr Patrick Callinan
BTEI Co-ordinator
Cork Training Centre,
Rossa Avenue,
Tel: 021-4856271
Mobile: 086-8532143


North Cork
Mr Brendan Glynn
BTEI Co-ordinator North Cork
The Q Centre,
IDA Industrial Estate,
Co. Cork
Tel: 022-55452
Fax: 022-42344
Mobile: 086-3629199


Frequently Asked Questions

When are BTEI programmes available?

Flexibility is the key word. Programmes can be offered on a part-time basis, in the mornings, afternoons, evenings or at weekends.

What courses are available through BTEI?

Courses offered can include:

Subjects in the Junior or Leaving Certificate e.g. Junior and Leaving Certificate English and Maths.
A wide range of modules such as communications, personal development, business, computing, childcare, art and crafts, tourism, catering, sport and leisure etc. which are certified by Quality & Qualifications Ireland (QQI).
Intensive adult literacy and basic education which may ultimately lead to nationally certified programmes.
One or more subjects or modules may be taken at a time, depending on availability. In some cases work experience may be included.


Who can take part in BTEI programmes?

Anyone who has full-time education can take part in a course being offered, but priority will be given to those with less than upper second level education.

What will a BTEI course cost?

Individuals will have different entitlements. Those in receipt of unemployment payments or means-tested social welfare benefits, and holders of medical cards, and their dependants, are entitled to free tuition. Other unwaged people with less than upper second level education will be entitled to a reduction in fees. The remainder will be charged fees.

Will I be paid while attending a BTEI course?

Generally no, except for those students eligible for full-time Youthreach/Traveller training programmes who do not have an underlying social welfare entitlement. They will receive a pro-rata training allowance from the Department of Education and Science, depending on the number of sessions they attend.

For people in receipt of social welfare payments, continued entitlement to benefit is subject to satisfying the Department of Social and Family Affairs as to their continued eligibility for the schemes. It is best to discuss individual circumstances with the social welfare office.

Will I obtain certification for a BTEI course?

All course providers are required to offer national certification. However, intensive adult literacy and basic education courses may not be in a position to offer this during the first phase of the certification. They can choose to pursue certification when they are ready.

What will I get from taking part in a BTEI programme?

Participation in part-time programme can provide opportunities to:

Continue your learning
Obtain national certification
Develop new skills
Pursue new employment options


The Back to Education Initiative is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employment, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020