Thousands of jobseekers to receive free third level courses
Springboard to offer training in sectors with ‘good prospects’ such as IT, financial services
Minister for Education Richard Bruton said offering free courses to jobseekers as part of the Springboard scheme reflected the Government’s commitment to deliver a step change in our capacity to educate, develop and retain talent. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw.
Thousands of free third level courses in IT and financial services will be available this year under an initiative aimed at giving jobseekers new skills in sectors with good employment prospects.
A total of 5,825 full- and part-time courses will be available across 36 educational institutions under the 2016 Springboard+ programme.
Almost half the places are on ICT courses, followed by entrepreneurship, international financial services and high-level manufacturing.
Culinary skills are a new addition, aimed at addressing emerging skills gaps the hospitality sector.
Minister for Education Richard Bruton said the announcement reflected the Government’s commitment to deliver a step change in our capacity to educate, develop and retain talent.
“This initiative embodies the core ambition set out earlier in the year in the National Skills Strategy: to ensure that we have a system that is flexible; responsive to the needs of enterprise and adult learners; and that delivers the maximum impact for our public resources,” he said.
Mr Bruton said a competitive tendering model used to select Springboard+ courses was a good one.
“I will be considering how this model, along with other incentives, can be developed and utilised to encourage further responses to skill needs and partnership between the third level sector and enterprise,” he said.
Latest figures show Springboard, which was established six years during the economic downturn, has a strong track record of employment outcomes.
A survey of graduates who took part in the scheme between 2011 – 2015 indicates that within six months of completion of a course, some 54 per cent of respondents were employed or self-employed.
In addition, a survey of ICT conversion course graduates shows 75 per cent of graduates were in employment within the same timeframe; some 95 per cent of these graduates were employed in Ireland.
To be eligible for a Springboard course, a person must be unemployed, actively seeking employment and be in receipt of a social welfare payment.
Applicants for ICT conversion courses, however, do not need to be unemployed but must hold a level eight (honours degree) qualification and demonstrate the capacity to undertake an intensive programme of study and work experience.
Full details on Springboard+ together with the eligibility criteria, are available on www.springboardcourses.ie.
In addition, a freephone helpline, run by the Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed, is available to offer advice on course choices and applications on 1800 303 523.