Employment Support Scheme (ESS)

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About the Skills for Life Employment Support Scheme

Skills for Life Employment Support Scheme is for people aged between 18 and 24 who want to train with the Irish Defence Forces over a ten week period. The scheme gives participants an opportunity to learn new skills and gain qualifications that will help them to pursue further education or to enter the workforce.

The scheme has two strands: formal learning and physical training. The formal learning strand is classroom based and covers modules such as Communications and Team-Work, SOLAS Safe Pass, Manual Handling, Basic Medical Training, IT Skills and more.  As part of the physical training strand, participants will have an opportunity to increase their overall physical fitness, learn basic outdoor survival techniques and enjoy adventure pursuits like orienteering, abseiling and canoeing.

The 10 week course starts on Monday,
10 June 2019. Participants will stay on-site at the Defence Forces Training Centre, Gormanston Camp, Co. Meath. The stay will be fully residential for the first two weeks and from Monday to Friday for the remaining 8 weeks. Accommodation, travel and catering expenses are paid for by the Defence Forces. Participants will receive a weekly training allowance whilst taking part in the scheme.

How will taking part in the course help me?


Participants who complete the course receive accreditation across a range of areas including IT, Microsoft Office, SOLAS Safe Pass, Manual Handling and First Aid. You will learn important work related skills like team work, self-confidence, discipline, self-motivation and good communication.  Each successful participant will receive a Certificate of Participation and Reference from the Defence Forces and DEASP which will help with job applications.

How to apply?


Please register your interest in this scheme by emailing

Closing date for applications is Friday, 15 February 2019

To be considered for the programme, you must be receiving a Jobseekers Allowance or Jobseekers Benefit payment from the Department of  Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) and also have a valid medical card.

Participants are selected by the DEASP and the Defence Forces.

Further Information


Information sessions are taking place over the coming weeks; please see details of these events below.  At the sessions, you can speak with trainers from the Defence Forces and DEASP staff to discuss any aspect of the scheme.  The events are open to everyone who wishes to attend.

Wednesday, 6th February 2019:


Intreo Centre, 1-2 Dyer Street, Drogheda Co Louth, Session Times: 2.30pm, 3.30pm

Monday 11th February 2019:

Intreo Centre, Government Buildings, St Alphonsus Road, Dundalk, Co. Louth Session Time10.30am


Last modified:29/03/2019

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