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The Part-Time Education Option (PTEO) allows you to keep your Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit and attend a part-time day or evening course of education or training.

You must continue to meet the conditions for Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance. This means that you must be able to show that you are still actively looking for and willing to take up work and that the course is likely to improve your chances of getting a job. If you are offered work while on the course you will be expected to accept the job offer.


The Part-Time Education Option is an administrative scheme. However, you can appeal a decision to refuse you the PTEO, if you have been refused because you are considered not to be available for employment.


The Part-Time Education Option is not the same as the Back to Education Allowance or the Education, Training and Development Option.

There are no specific eligibility criteria for the PTEO. You can be any age and may be unemployed for any length of time before starting a part-time course of education.

Keeping your jobseeker’s payment

If you are getting Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit you may take up the Part-Time Education Option and continue to get your jobseeker’s payment. Your Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office must be satisfied that the course is likely to improve your chances of getting a job.

You must continue to satisfy the conditions of being available for and genuinely seeking work.

Courses covered

You can take part in a part-time day course, evening course or early morning course, distance education or a part-time course under the Back to Education Initiative (BTEI) or Springboard. In some cases, part-time courses which run during the normal working day will be accepted, for example, courses under the BTEI.

A wide range of subjects is available under the BTEI. For example:

  • Basic adult education
  • Junior Certificate and Leaving Certificate subjects such as English and maths
  • Other courses include: personal development, catering, tourism, communication, sport and leisure.

Finding a course

To find out about available courses and get advice on how to get a place on a course, you should contact your local ETB, school or college, public library or Citizens Information Centre (CIC).


You will continue to get your Jobseeker’s Allowance or Jobseeker’s Benefit at your usual rate and any other secondary benefits.


How to apply

All applications for the PTEO should be made on form PTEO1 (pdf). You will be asked to provide information about your course, for example, the course time-table.

Where to apply

Apply for the Part-Time Education Option at your Intreo Centre or Social Welfare Branch Office.


Last modified:24/04/2018

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