Vocational Education Committee

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A Vocational Education Committee (VEC) (Irish: Coiste Gairmoideachais) was a statutory local education body in the Republic of Ireland that administered some secondary education, most adult education and a very small amount of primary education in the state. Before 1992 VECs had authority over the Dublin Institute of Technology and the Regional Technical Colleges. They existed from 1930 to 2013, when they were replaced by Education and Training Boards.[1]


VECs were originally created by the Vocational Education Act 1930, as successors to the Technical Instruction Committees established by the Agriculture and Technical Instruction (Ireland) Act 1899. The original purpose of the committees was to administer continuation and technical education for 14- to 16-year-olds. Continuation education was defined as "general and practical training in preparation for employment in trades", while technical education was described as "pertaining to trades, manufacturers, commerce and other industrial pursuits". To this end the VECs were charged with the duty of setting up and maintaining vocational schools.[2]


Over time the duties of VECs increased, in particular in the area of adult education. These included:

Post-primary (secondary) education

  • Vocational Schools
  • Community Colleges

Further and adult education

  • Post-Leaving Certificate courses (PLCs)
  • Youthreach Services
  • Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS)
  • Community Education[3]
  • Adult Literacy and Basic Education
  • Back To Education Initiative (BTEI)
  • Adult Refugee Programme (ARP)

VECs also administered maintenance grants and bursaries for third-level education until 2012.[4]

In September 2008, County Dublin VEC opened the first Community National School, in Porterstown, Dublin 15. This marked the first time a VEC had become involved in primary school education.[5]


VECs were originally established in each administrative county and county borough in the then Irish Free State. In addition, a VEC was formed in those municipal boroughs and urban districts which had a separate Technical Instruction Committee under the 1899 legislation (namely Bray, Drogheda, Sligo, Tralee and Wexford) and in the newly created Borough of Dún Laoghaire.

The number of VECs was reduced to the final number of thirty-three when five town committees were amalgamated with the adjacent county committees, leaving Dún Laoghaire as the only VEC area not consisting of a city or county.


Each Vocational Education Committee was elected by the county, borough or urban district council and consisted partly of councillors and partly of persons with an "interest and experience in education" and who could be recommended by bodies "interested in manufacture or trades".

The Vocational Education (Amendment) Act 2001 changed the composition of the committees, and parents of students under 18 and members of the staff were also entitled to elect committee members. Members could also be appointed to represent the interests of students, voluntary organisations, community organisations, Irish language interests and business.[6]

List of Vocational Education Committees 1997–2013[edit]

VEC Notes
County Carlow
County Cavan
County Clare
City of Cork
County Cork
County Donegal
City of Dublin
County Dublin Covered Fingal, South Dublin and part of Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown
Dún Laoghaire Part of Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown (the former borough of Dún Laoghaire)
City of Galway
County Galway
Kerry Education Service (County Kerry VEC) Absorbed Town of Tralee VEC 1997[7]
County Kildare
County Kilkenny
County Laois
County Leitrim
City of Limerick
County Limerick
County Longford
County Louth Absorbed Town of Drogheda VEC 1997[8]
County Mayo
County Meath
County Monaghan
County Offaly
County Roscommon
County Sligo Absorbed Town of Sligo VEC 1997[9]
North Tipperary
South Tipperary
City of Waterford
County Waterford
County Westmeath
County Wexford Absorbed Town of Wexford VEC 1997[10]
County Wicklow Absorbed Town of Bray VEC 1997[11]

Amalgamations and abolition[edit]

In October 2010 the Department of Education and Skills announced that the number of VECs was to be reduced from 33 to 16 by amalgamation[12][13] In 2011 the new government confirmed that scale of reduction but revised the scheme of amalgamations[14] It subsequently announced the establishment of SOLAS, a new steering and funding agency to cover the further education provision of the VECs, which also absorbed the training activities formerly carried out by FÁS.[15]

Under the terms of the Education and Training Boards Act 2013 the VECS were dissolved, being replaced by 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs) on 1 July 2013:[16]

  1. County Dublin VEC and Dún Laoghaire VEC replaced by Dublin & Dún Laoghaire ETB
  2. City of Dublin VEC replaced by City of Dublin ETB
  3. City of Galway VEC, County Galway VEC and County Roscommon VEC replaced by Galway & Roscommmon ETB
  4. County Cork VEC and City of Cork VEC replaced by Cork ETB
  5. County Kerry VEC replaced by Kerry ETB
  6. City of Limerick VEC, County Limerick VEC and County Clare VEC replaced by Limerick & Clare ETB
  7. City of Waterford VEC, County Waterford VEC and County Wexford VEC replaced by Waterford & Wexford ETB
  8. North Tipperary VEC and South Tipperary VEC replaced by Tipperary ETB
  9. County Donegal VEC replaced by Donegal ETB
  10. County Kildare VEC and County Wicklow VEC replaced by Kildare & Wicklow ETB
  11. County Mayo VEC, County Sligo VEC and County Leitrim VEC replaced by Mayo, Sligo & Leitrim ETB
  12. County Cavan VEC and County Monaghan VEC replaced by Cavan & Monaghan ETB
  13. County Laois VEC and County Offaly VEC replaced by Laois & Offaly ETB
  14. County Carlow VEC and County Kilkenny VEC replaced by Kilkenny & Carlow ETB
  15. County Longford VEC and County Westmeath VEC replaced by Longford & Westmeath ETB
  16. County Meath VEC and County Louth VEC replaced by Louth & Meath ETB

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Education and Training Boards replace VECs to save €2m a year". Irish Examiner. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  2. ^ Vocational Education Act, 1930, accessed 20 October 2007
  3. ^ What are VECs?, (Cork VEC), visited 20 October 2007
  4. ^ "Quick guide to the SUSI grant process". studentfinance.ie. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ Vocational Education (Amendment) Act 2001, accessed 20 October 2007
  7. ^ S.I. No. 89/1997 — Vocational Education (Urban District of Tralee Vocational Education Area and County Kerry Vocational Education Area) Amalgamation Order, 1997
  8. ^ S.I. No. 90/1997 — Vocational Education (Borough of Drogheda Vocational Education Area and County Louth Vocational Education Area) Amalgamation Order, 1997, accessed 20 October 2007
  9. ^ S.I. No. 92/1997 — Vocational Education (Borough of Sligo Vocational Education Area and County Sligo Vocational Education Area) Amalgamation Order, 1997, accessed 20 October 2007
  10. ^ S.I. No. 88/1997 — Vocational Education (Borough of Wexford Vocational Education Area and County Wexford Vocational Education Area) Amalgamation Order, 1997, accessed 20 October 2007
  11. ^ S.I. No. 91/1997 — Vocational Education (Urban District of Bray Vocational Education Area and County Wicklow Vocational Education Area) Amalgamation Order, 1997, accessed 20 October 2007
  12. ^ Seán Flynn (13 October 2010). "Cabinet agrees to cut number of VECs". Irish Times.
  13. ^ "Tánaiste announces restructuring of Vocational Education Committees (VECs) – Number of VECs reduced from 33 to 16". Press Releases. Department of Education and Skills (Ireland). 12 October 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  14. ^ 29 June 2011 – Minister for Education and Skills announces revised mergers of Vocational Education Committees (VECs)
  15. ^ 27 July 2011 – New further education and training authority, SOLAS, launched by Minister Quinn- Government agrees to wind down FÁS
  16. ^ "Education and Training Boards Act 2013". Irish Statute Book. Retrieved 2 July 2013.