The principal applicant in this project is the Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme, at the Limerick Adult Education College. VTOS is run under the auspices of the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board, which is a statutory body overseen by SOLAS, the national further education and training authority. LCETB has responsibility for the coordination, maintenance and review of further education and training as well as related support and ancillary services, in the mid-west region. It also has responsibility for youth services and second-level schools. The broad mission of LCETB encompasses objectives such as active citizenship and personal development and these go hand-in-hand with the need to upgrade skills for employability. The sector has an important role in building local workforce capacity.
The Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme offers a full-time education program for unemployed adults over 21 years of age. There are currently 210 students on the Scheme, approximately half of whom are non-Irish nationals. There are 22 full-time staff. VTOS was set up to address a structural issue in the labour market whereby a significant proportion of long-term unemployed people left school before completion of upper secondary education. The aim of the Scheme is to provide students with a spectrum of education-led, vocationally-oriented learning opportunities to: raise education levels; give access to national qualifications and provide progression opportunities into further and/or higher education and training leading to employment. Career planning and guidance is an integral feature of VTOS provision and each year, over one third of the 210 students carry out work placements in local businesses and companies.
All programs under SOLAS are subject to rigorous review and planning. QQI (Quality & Qualifications Ireland) has the responsibility to monitor and evaluate the quality of programs in the AFET sector to ensure providers establish procedures for the assessment of learners which are fair and consistent and in compliance with national standards. External auditors, the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) play a central role in the public accountability process by examining the accounts, records and transactions of all public bodies, including the Education and Training Boards.